When Texas Rep. Giovanni Capriglione first introduced the Texas Bullion Depository bill, it was 2013. In preparation for the 83rd Texas legislative session, he created a document outlining a plan to build a depository for bullion in his home state of Texas. His initial bill would not make it through the legislative session, but after several revisions and rewrites, the second proposal would quickly gain the needed approval to land on Gov. Greg Abbott's desk, where it was signed into law on June 12, 2015.
House Bill 3505, authored by Rep. Capriglione, was introduced to the 83rd Texas legislative session under the sponsorship of 12 Republican House Representatives. In a similar manner to House Bill 483, the 2013 bill relates to "the establishment and administration of a state bullion depository and the investment of certain public money in precious metals and depository accounts." Although then-Gov. Rick Perry supported the bill, it did not accumulate enough approval within its house subcommittee to pass before the legislative session ended on May 27, 2013.
A few provisions within the original bill contributed to its initial lack of endorsement. For instance, the 2013 bill suggested that the bullion depository would be funded by the state. Thus, the estimate for state costs in the first two years of depository construction were close to $14 million.
The 2015 bill offered a solution for the substantial expenses: The depository's creation would be contracted out to a private firm, and that firm could charge fees to cover the costs of running the depository. The Texas Bullion Depository's regulations will be written and mandated by a division set up within the state's comptroller's office. Texas Comptroller Glenn Hagar, who is leading the organization of the project, said in a statement sent to The Texas Tribune: "I am committed to providing the people of Texas a safe and secure depository. I take that commitment seriously and intend to approach this undertaking in such a way that creates the trust necessary to ensure that potential depositors sleep well knowing that their hard earned deposits are secure in a Texas facility."
The initial document, House Bill 3505, also featured a controversial line within its provisions. In section 2116.005(f), the first draft of the bill read: "Precious metal deposited with the depository by any person is the property of this state and is held by the depository outside the state treasury. On withdrawal and settlement, the precious metals become the property of the depository account holder." In summary, the state of Texas would own the account holder's precious metals throughout their time within the Texas Bullion Depository. Upon withdrawal and settlement, the account holder would reclaim ownership of the precious metals he or she stored in their account.
The document for House Bill 483, which has since been passed into law, excluded this directive from its list of decrees. The Texas Bullion Depository functions as a safe storage facility for an account holder's deposited gold and silver bullion property, free from governmental or quasi-governmental authority beyond the state of Texas.
When Rep. Capriglione introduced a version of the bill in 2013, he focused on its possible purpose as back-up plan for a Fed-induced financial collapse. This controversial role blanketed the other possible purposes of a state-run bullion depository and contributed to the original bill's slow passage through the legislative process, resulting in a failure to reach timely approval. In the 84th Texas legislative session, the new bill and its supporters refocused its objective to bringing home to Texas the gold endowment of the University of Texas Investment Management Company, worth an estimated $660 million. Currently, the gold is stored in HSBC's New York bank vault, but Gov. Greg Abbott argues the benefits of home-state storage in the official statement he released after the law's approval: "The Texas Bullion Depository will become the first state-level facility of its kind in the nation, increasing the security and stability of our gold reserves and keeping taxpayer funds from leaving Texas to pay for fees to store gold in facilities outside our state."
House Bill 483 received enormous support during the 84th Texas legislative session, passing 27-to-4 in the state Senate and 140-to-4 in the state House of Representatives. The state legislative session ended on June 1, 2015, and the bill was sent to Gov. Abbott for his approval or veto. He signed the bill into law on June 12, 2015, allowing Texas to build the first state-run bullion depository in the country.