Public Policy 2020 is a strategic effort to engage business and civic leaders to identify the Houston region's most pressing issues.Read More
The Partnership is the primary business advocate for the Houston region. The Public Policy Division works hand-in-hand with the Partnership policy committee members, Board Members, elected officials and outside organizations as a regional facilitator for issues affecting the business community.
To create an ideal business environment through public policy and advocacy, the Public Policy Division's goals are to:
Our legislative advocacy stems from the work of the policy committees and leadership task forces. The Public Policy Division oversees committee and task force operations for the following policy areas:
As a result of a focused and collaborative effort, the Partnership's three highest policy priorities resulted in legislation signed by Governor Greg Abbott during the 84th Texas Legislative Session. These priorities are critical to the region's success: early childhood education through high quality pre-K, transportation funding, and preservation of economic development incentives.
In 2014, the business community in Houston invested new resources in understanding the relationship between success in 3rd grade and workforce success. Seeing a special need for our region, the Partnership formed Early Matters, a coalition dedicated to many aspects of early childhood success, including access to high-quality pre-K.
With support from Jim Postl, retired President and CEO, Pennzoil-Quaker State, and the Partnership's Education Advisory Committee Chair, Scott McClelland, President of H-E-B Houston Region, the Partnership worked closely with Houston’s legislators, House Speaker Joe Straus, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Governor Greg Abbott to pass HB 4. The final version included 11 of the 12 policy recommendations identified by Early Matters. Governor Abbott signed HB 4 into law on May 29, 2015 preserving the current $1.7 billion half-day pre-K program, with an additional $118 million allocated for schools that provide pre-K programs following new quality standards.
The Partnership's Transportation Advisory Committee launched a grassroots campaign and created the Transportation in Texas Toolkit.Read More
Transportation has been a top priority of the Partnership for many years. The organization's Transportation Advisory Committee has always had strong relationships with TxDOT and a broad group of stakeholders concerned that Texas roadways were in disrepair and threatened the state’s future economic growth. Last session, the Partnership and many other organizations supported legislation to increase funding for Texas roads by $1.2 billion. In 2015, the same group of supporters returned to the legislature seeking more funding and a permanent source of revenue for Texas roads.
Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and Representative Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), two long-time transportation supporters and Partnership allies, introduced bills to achieve that end. Importantly, the final package was designed, with voter approval, to provide a consistent source of funding. The Partnership’s Transportation Advisory Committee, chaired by Jim Thompson, Chief Executive, Global Programs, AECOM, launched several grassroots campaigns over the last three years and created a "Transportation in Texas Toolkit" to facilitate consistent communication on the issue. In November 2015, Proposition 7 was approved by voters by more than 80 percent.
Combining all of the funding allocated during the 2013 and 2015 sessions, Texas has an additional $4.55 billion in new funding for our roadways.
As the 2015 session began, the Partnership worked closely with lawmakers and the Metro 8, the chambers of commerce representing the state's eight largest cities, to support HB 26, an economic development reform bill, which changed aspects of our key program while preserving them. The bill changed the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) by increasing transparency and adding new efficiency measures to the program. It also secured $90 million for TEF.
The Partnership supported the Governor's University Research Initiative, a new incentive program to attract Nobel Laureates and National Academy members to public universities in Texas. In addition, the Partnership supported other bills to expand the benefits of Chapter 313 and preserved special event incentives.