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Launched in 2018, the Future of Texas program has hosted a number of elected officials including State Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston), State Representative Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) and State Senator Senfronia Thompson. 

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Deferred for Nine Years – Congressional Action Needed for “Dreamers”

This month marks the ninth anniversary of the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA program, implemented in 2012 by the Department of Homeland Security through an executive order, grants law-abiding undocumented youth, also commonly referred to as “Dreamers”, a renewable two-year reprieve from deportation and provides them with the ability to study and legally work in the United States.  There are currently an estimated 800,000 DACA recipients throughout the country. Texas is home to the second largest population of Dreamers who contribute significantly to the overall health and prosperity of Texas’ economy. DACA recipients contribute $454.4 million in annual state and local taxes, hold billions of dollars in spending power, and further contribute to our communities as homeowners and business owners, including many who employ native-born Americans.  Over 30,600 of Texas’ essential workers are DACA recipients, working in industries such as health care, food service, agriculture, sanitation, transportation, and other critical sectors. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these essential workers risked their own health to help keep the American economy alive, and their economic contributions are important as Texas begins its rebound in the post-pandemic economic recovery. Without a permanent legislative solution, the future of the DACA program is unknown. It would be possible for the program to be terminated at any time, thereby resulting in the upheaval of Texan DACA recipients and negatively impacting the Texas economy. The path forward should involve a bipartisan, commonsense approach to immigration that provides a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers that will help grow our economy, support our recovery and contribute to a robust workforce. As the Senate continues to work out a legislative solution, the House passed the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which was heard in Senate Judiciary Committee on June 15, 2021. H.R. 6 would provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and other immigrants, such as foreign-born individuals who have been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS).  This is a pivotal moment for our leaders to address long-standing immigration issues with sensible solutions and to prioritize policies recognizing the crucial contributions of our nation’s Dreamers. They are integral members of our communities, imperative to our workforce, and critical to our economic strength and diversity. The Partnership supports urgent Congressional action to provide Dreamers with permanent protections from the fear of deportation.
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Survey: Majority of Houston Employers Encouraging Vaccines, More Flexible with Remote Work 

With the state of Texas now fully open and COVID-19 cases in decline, Houston companies are grappling with how to resume operations in a safe and secure fashion that also conveys a sense of normalcy.  The Greater Houston Partnership conducted a wide-ranging survey among its members to gauge sentiment on issues including vaccine requirements for employees, return-to-workplace timelines and ongoing health and safety practices. A total of 141 firms responded to the survey conducted June 3-7.  The vast majority of Houston-area employers (87%) are encouraging but not requiring vaccinations among their employees, with about a quarter using some form of tangible incentive (monetary, time off, etc.) to gain compliance. Just 8% are requiring employees to get vaccinated. Fifty-two percent of companies said they are tracking employee vaccinations, and of those a little over a third are requiring proof while another third are conducting non-anonymous surveys.  In terms of health and safety protocols, 55% of respondent companies said they require non-vaccinated employees to wear a mask while the rest are split between mandating masks for all (22%) and not mandating masks at all (24%). Just 21% said they have eliminated social distancing indoors altogether while the rest either require social distancing among all employees (42%) or only among the non-vaccinated (38%). Asked about the health and safety measures being deployed in the workplace, the top answers were enhanced cleaning services, limiting elevator capacity and providing individual safety equipment and supplies.   Following a year that saw significant job losses across the region, companies are working to regain their footing. Asked how their employee count has changed since the pandemic began in March 2020, 49% said it has remained the same while the remaining companies were evenly split (nearly 26%) among those who have increased staff and those who have cut staff. Of those companies that lost staff, 38% experienced a decline of 6 to 10% while 21% saw losses of 11 to 20%.  Asked about plans to resume on-site operations, nearly 20% of respondents said they never closed while another 47% either said they had already reopened or would do so this month. Another 9% expect to reopen in July or August, and 20% will open in September or later. Houston area employers appear to be more open to flexible work arrangements post-pandemic. Employers were asked about their plans for remote work in the near-term (1 to 3 months) and medium-term (3-12 months). See the results in the chart below.  Click to expand Employers’ top outside concerns regarding reopen are: staff vaccinations (72% rated it extremely/very important), community vaccination rate (65%) and community herd immunity (60%).  “We conducted this survey to help local employers determine how others are handling the tough issues surrounding reopening," said Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. "What we found is that there is a definitive cultural shift in how some companies are approaching issues like remote work. They also told us that vaccinations are the most important part of their return to onsite operations. This is all significant data as companies try to regain what they’ve lost during the pandemic and return employees to work.”   Click here to see the results of the survey. 
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Public Policy

Future of Texas: 87th Legislative Session Recap

Following the conclusion of the 87th Legislative Session, the Partnership's Future of Texas will discuss the outcomes and business impacts of bills that passed, what was left on the table and what's still to…

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Executive Partners