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86th Legislative Session

Bolstering a thriving business environment that fosters economic development is critical to making Houston greater. In order to advance the Houston region, the Greater Houston Partnership works to pursue policies that create a business environment attractive to leading global companies and skilled talent. 

In the 2019 State Legislative Session, the Partnership focused on two executive priorities: school finance reform and flood resilience. The Legislature passed and Governor Abbott signed legislation into law to invest significant state resources in these priorities as well as other issues important to the business community and the Houston region.

The Partnership's Priorities for the 86th Legislative Session

  • The Partnership is actively working with legislators concerning interim studies that will further the work of the 86th Legislative Session and align the region for success during the 2021 session. 

  • Stay up-to-date with our Policy Team on Twitter @GHP_Policy

Actively Involved

The 86th Texas Legislative Session was a success for the business community, with transformational investments in public education and flood resilience

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Membership

COVID-19 Public Policy Update: April 6, 2020

4/6/20
In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Partnership will provide a daily update on public policies and other newsworthy items from local, state and national levels of government. Executive Summary Over the weekend, the federal government and State of Texas each announced new measures to respond to the public health impacts of COVID-19. At the federal level, the CDC recommended that all Americans should wear fabric masks while in public in order to reduce the spread of the virus. At the state level, Governor Greg Abbott waived regulations to expand the health care workforce in Texas in response to COVID-19. This will allow certain health care candidates for licensure who have completed all other requirements to enter the workforce under supervision during the emergency. The Texas Education Agency has announced that for 2020 state academic accountability, all districts and campuses will receive a label of “Not Rated: Declared State of Disaster.” FederalCDC Mask Recommendations The CDC has announced its recommendation for all Americans to wear fabric masks while in public. Cloth coverings are recommended in lieu of medical grade masks due to the overwhelming shortage of medical masks for health care workers. The recommendation for Americans to wear masks does not replace the social distancing guidelines and should be viewed as in addition to the social distancing measures. Source: CDC Numbers As of Monday morning, Johns Hopkins University is reporting over 337,000 cases, and 9,653 deaths. The U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned Americans should prepared for a tragic week, as it is expected for the death toll to increase exponentially this week. State On Friday afternoon, Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference providing an update on the state's increased hospital bed capacity. The state is also preparing to bring additional facilities online to provide supplementary health care if needed. Over the weekend, Governor Abbott held a call with Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. They discussed the trajectory of COVID-19 in Texas, the current social distancing measures that are to stay in place until April 30th, and the expansion of testing in the state. Dr. Fauci stated that the efforts Texas is taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 will help slow the spread and protect public health. On April 5, Governor Abbott waived regulations to expand the health care workforce in Texas in response to COVID-19. This will allow certain health care candidates for licensure who have completed all other requirements to enter the workforce under supervision during the emergency. Numbers As of early morning on April 6: 6,812 cases in Texas. 127 deaths. 152 counties reporting cases. 70,938 tests administered. Public Education A-F Accountability System: The Texas Education Agency has announced that for 2020 state academic accountability, all districts and campuses will receive a label of “Not Rated: Declared State of Disaster.” Higher Education Institution Updates University of St. Thomas is offering medical personnel use of dorm rooms while fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Personnel are expected to start moving in this week. Permanent University Fund is anticipating a decline in growth this year due to sagging oil prices. This will not immediately impact distribution or the promise of free tuition for those households meeting the income threshold. Visit the Partnership's COVID-19 Resource page for updates, guidance for employers and more information. And sign up for daily email alerts from the Partnership as the situation develops. 
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Membership

COVID-19 Public Policy Update: April 3, 2020

4/3/20
In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Partnership will provide a daily update on public policies and other newsworthy items from local, state and national levels of government. Executive Summary  All levels of government continue to respond to the economic and public health impacts of COVID-19. At the federal level, the Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration issued guidance for the Paycheck Protection Program, the $350 billion initiative through the CARES Act to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. At the state level, Governor Greg Abbott waived some regulations for emergency medical service (EMS) providers, including some license and application renewal requirements to increase EMS worker availability. At the local level, Houston ISD has announced plans to resume meal distribution this Monday and will provide about 500 meals at 4-5 sites daily.  Federal Paycheck Protection Program Launched on Friday The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. On Thursday evening, the Department of the Treasury and Small Business Administration issued guidance for the Paycheck Protection Program. The guidance, sample application and other key resources can be found here: For a top-line overview of the program click here. If you’re a lender, more information can be found here. If you’re a borrower, more information can be found here. Final Borrower Application Form *NEW*  Lender Electronic Data Form *NEW*  Paycheck Protection Program – Interim Final Rule *NEW*  House Committee on Coronavirus Oversight   House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is creating a House Select Committee on the coronavirus response, which will be chaired by Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.  The committee’s focus is stated to be the current status of the federal pandemic response and looking forward, not to address the initial response. However, the Speaker commented there will be a time for review of the initial response at a later date.   The committee will be charged with examining the federal response while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and to save lives, deliver relief, and benefit the economy. The committee will have subpoena power according to the Speaker.   Speaker’s Press Release announcing committee formation.  Unemployment   Approximately 6.65 million Americans have filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total claims for the last two weeks to almost 10 million.   Direct Payments to Americans  Within two weeks the first direct deposits will be made.   Social security recipients will not have to file a new tax return. They will qualify for the payment. If one does not have direct deposit, a portal will be made available to provide a process to receive the payment.  Numbers  As of Tuesday afternoon, Johns Hopkins University is reporting over 230,000 cases, and over 5,700 deaths.   State  Governor Greg Abbott waived some regulations for emergency medical service (EMS) providers, including some license and application renewal requirements in an effort to increase EMS worker availability.  Numbers  As of noon on April 2: 4,669 cases in Texas. 70 deaths. 143 counties reporting cases. 50,679 tests administered.  Public Education Houston ISD Food Distribution  Houston ISD has announced plans to resume meal distribution this Monday and will provide about 500 meals at 4-5 sites daily. A map of the food distribution here.  Higher Education  Higher Education Institutions Fall 2020 enrollment forecasts are starting to be reviewed as institutions continue to understand the financial implications of COVID-19.    Policy Implications  $14 billion of the Education Stabilization Fun within the CARES Act will go directly to institutions based a formula which allocates 75% to the full-time enrollment (FTE) of PELL recipients and 25% of non-PELL FTE.  The formula excludes students who were fully online prior to COVID-19.  Visit the Partnership's COVID-19 Resource page for updates, guidance for employers and more information. And sign up for daily email alerts from the Partnership as the situation develops. 
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State of the Senate

Save the date for the Greater Houston Partnership's annual State of the Senate luncheon featuring U.S. Senator John Cornyn, who will address issues important to the greater Houston region and our nation.   …

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