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88th Legislative Session

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 supports policies that create a business environment attractive to leading global companies and skilled talent.

During the 88th Texas Legislative Session, the Partnership will focus on an impact agenda that addresses the most pressing issues facing the business community and the Houston region. We invite you to join us in continuing to advance these solutions and other measures to strengthen the region’s long-term growth and provide opportunity for all. Together, we make Houston greater.

Executive Priorities

Four key priorities will lead the Partnership's legislative agenda in 2023.

Economic Development Incentives 

Competitive economic development tools are critical to bringing new businesses to the region and growing our economy. The Partnership supports the creation of a new school property tax abatement program that makes our state attractive to emerging industries and ensures our long-term competitiveness.

Energy Transition 

Texas is poised to lead the energy transition and safeguard our place as the global energy leader. The Partnership supports removing regulatory roadblocks and creating certainty for those investing in the future of Texas energy.

Higher Education Funding 

The University of Houston is the region’s flagship public institution and continues to make meaningful strides in terms of student success and research funding. The Partnership supports increasing the state’s investment in the University of Houston.

Flood Mitigation 

The Legislature made a strong commitment in 2019 to strengthen local communities and make the state more resilient by creating the Flood Infrastructure Fund. The Partnership supports significant re-investment in the Flood Infrastructure Fund.

Issues

The Partnership will work on several key issues that impact business in this region.

Workforce Development 

Community colleges are essential to educating, certifying and training the workers needed to keep our economy strong. The Partnership supports student-focused and industry-led recommendations.
Public schools are facing a teacher workforce shortage. The Partnership supports targeted efforts to address this shortage and attract high-quality teachers to the classroom.
COVID placed tremendous strain on frontline healthcare workers resulting in workforce shortages in critical areas. The Partnership supports state programs and investment to attract the best and brightest to the profession.
The Partnership supports an all-of-the above approach to training and upskilling the region’s workforce to ensure leading technology and innovation companies have access to a robust talent pipeline.

Public Education 

A strong public education system is critical to the long-term prosperity of our region and state. The Partnership supports continued investment in public education, preservation of high-impact programs, and effective accountability measures.

Local Issues

The judicial system in Harris County is broken and not serving the needs of the region. The Partnership supports policies that would help to alleviate the felony court case backlog.

Broadband 

Equitable access to broadband will provide economic opportunities to all Texans. The Partnership supports continued state investment to address the digital divide and serve local communities.

See the Partnership's Full Legislative Agenda

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87th Legislative Session Summary

Learn how key elements of the Partnership's legislative agenda fared during the 87th Texas Legislative Session. 

Convening to Make an Impact

The Partnership's impact work happens through Committees, which convene business and community leaders to fuel the growth and vitality of the Houston region. 

Public Policy Updates

Related News

Public Policy

HOU in ATX: Legislative Update – Week 4

2/3/23
This week, freezing weather closes the Texas Capitol, the Partnership welcomes new board chair, advocating for ARPA-H in DC, and the Comptroller announces additional federal funding to address broadband needs. Winter storm closes the Capitol Severe weather across the state pushed lawmakers to stay home on just the fourth week of the 88th legislative session, as both the House and Senate chambers adjourned until Tuesday, February 7th.  Early in the week, Governor Abbott deployed the State Operations Center , to which 15 state agencies report, in preparation for winter storm Mara. While the power grid performed as expected, freezing temperatures and heavy ice brought down power lines, causing communities across Central and East Texas to lose power. Annual Meeting: Incoming Chair Marc L. Boom gives address On Thursday, the Greater Houston Partnership hosted its Annual Meeting. During the meeting, Dr. Marc L. Boom, President and CEO of Houston Methodist and the Partnership’s incoming Board Chair, provided an update of the Partnership’s work and its direction for 2023.  In his speech, Dr. Boom outlined how the business community can play a positive role in finding solutions in today’s increasingly polarized environment. Boom challenged the Houston business community to embrace “AND” solutions to the challenges facing our region.  Energy Transition: “We’re going to use fossil fuels far into the future AND we need to do so cleanly.”  Immigration: “We all need more workers AND we all need secure borders which we as a country control.”  Education: “We have [to have a] public education system focused on meeting the diverse needs of all of Houston’s young people, preparing them for the careers of tomorrow, AND [we have to] also hold school districts accountable for academic performance.” North Houston Highway Improvement Project: “The I-45 project [is a great example of] an AND of jobs AND mobility AND safety AND enhancing and protecting surrounding communities. The bottom line: Boom concluded with: “We need commitment and engagement of a broad, diverse group of business leaders to advance solutions through the fractious debate, singularly focused on Houston’s long-term success and creating opportunity for all Houstonians.” Go deeper: Watch Dr. Boom’s full Annual Meeting address here. The bottom line: Boom concluded with: “We need commitment and engagement of a broad, diverse group of business leaders to advance solutions through the fractious debate, singularly focused on Houston’s long-term success and creating opportunity for all Houstonians.” Go deeper: Watch Dr. Boom’s full Annual Meeting address here. Click to expand Houston Life Sciences Coalition and ARPA-H Even with the state legislative session underway, the Partnership’s work at the federal level continues.  The Houston Life Sciences Coalition, led by the Texas Medical Center, traveled to Washington this week to advance Houston’s opportunity to be awarded a headquarters location for a new federal agency charged with health innovation. The coalition made the case for Houston in meetings with administration officials and members of Congress.  The big picture: In 2022, Congress formally authorized ARPA-H and provided a $500 million increase for the agency, bringing its total funding to $1.5 billion. The bill also requires that ARPA-H have offices or facilities in not fewer than 3 geographic areas. The bottom line: ARPA-H’s mission is to accelerate transformative innovation in biomedical science and medicine, with the goal to maintain the country’s global leadership in science and innovation. By the numbers: The Texas Medical Center is the largest medical city in the world: 60+ best in class academic and clinical partners  10 Million annual patient encounters  11,000 total patient beds  120,000 employees $850 million of NIH Funding in 2020  2,000+ clinical trials annually  225+ active start-up life science companies What’s next: An announcement of headquarter locations by Secretary of Health and Human Service Xavier Becerra is expected this year.  Broadband gets a boost    Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced his agency will receive $363 million in federal grant dollars from the U.S. Treasury to increase access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet across Texas. The award will go toward the Bringing Online Opportunities to Texas (BOOT) program, a competitive grant process administered by the Texas Broadband Development Office (BDO). BOOT funding is designed to connect unserved and underserved locations that lack broadband access; a critical need was made apparent and exacerbated by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Why it matters: The program will fund last mile broadband infrastructure projects and qualified projects that meet a specific criterion. Eligibility will be determined by the Texas Broadband Development map.  The funding, administered through the federal Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, will bring reliable internet service to about 152,000 locations across the state. By reducing the digital divide and closing the broadband last mile gap, Texans will have better access to remote health care options, as well as educational and employment opportunities. What's next: The Texas Broadband Development Office will begin accepting applications in spring 2023. During the 88th Legislative Session, the Greater Houston Partnership will provide a weekly update on newsworthy items from Austin. You can view more policy news and archives of our weekly updates here. 
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Public Policy

HOU in ATX: Legislative Update – Week 3

1/27/23
This week, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced Senate committee assignments, the Partnership highlighted the importance of a strong public school accountability system, and welcomed it's members to Austin to advocate for our Executive Priorities. Senate committee assignments announced Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick unveiled committee assignments with Houston-area Senators chairing several critical senate committees. Of the sixteen full committees, six will be chaired by Houston-area Senators.  Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston) will chair the powerful Senate Finance Committee responsible for writing the state budget.  Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston) was reappointed chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee and will be the only Democratic Senator to lead a committee.  Why it matters: This committee will have jurisdiction over any potential criminal court expansion, which could address Harris County’s prevailing backlog. Senators Bettencourt, Huffman, and Miles will join him on the committee. Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) was named chair of the Education Committee, which will now oversee K-12 and higher education. Several priority issues will funnel through Creighton’s committees, including public school accountability, K-12 curriculum reforms, and community college finance reform.  One more point: Freshman Senator Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston) was appointed as vice chair of the Higher Education subcommittee.  Other notable Houston-area chairs and appointments: Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) will chair the Senate Committee on Local Government.  Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) will chair the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. Senator Borris Miles will also join her on this committee. Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) will chair Senate Committee on Transportation. Other Houston area senators joining Senator Nichols include Senator Carol Alvarado and Senator Borris Miles. The bottom line: Committee chairs influence what bills make it to the Senate floor and are viewed as strong policy leaders for the issues they oversee.  Go deeper: Click here to view full committee listings Preserving a strong public school accountability system is a top priority for the Partnership. This week, Taylor Landin, the Partnership’s Chief Policy Officer, led a panel discussion of education policy experts from Texas 2036 and the Texas Public Policy Foundation on the importance of accountability and assessments in order to produce students that are college, career and military-ready.  Our thought bubble: Without a strong public school accountability system and assessments, parents and communities are unable to determine which students are falling behind. And we know that if a child is not reading on grade level by the third grade, they are less likely to ever catch up academically.  Click to expand Bob Harvey at Partnership in ATX event The Partnership in ATX  The Partnership’s trip to Austin began with a Legislative Briefing on Energy, including expert panelists sharing their knowledge on energy transition, low carbon technology, and hydrogen before a packed room of legislative staff and policy thought leaders.  Panelists included:  Jeremy Mazur, Senior Policy Advisor, Texas 2036 Mark Klewpatinond, Global Business Manager, Hydrogen, Exxon Mobil's Low Carbon Solutions Carrie Lalou, Director, Business Development, Linde Gas US  The bottom line: Texas is uniquely positioned to lead the world in developing solutions to the dual challenge at the heart of the Energy Transition - how to meet the growing demand for energy while lowering global emissions. Leading the energy transition requires consistent legal and regulatory policy to create certainty, attract investment and accelerate project deployment.  An evening Legislative Reception brought together members of the Legislature, policy leaders, and the Texas business community to celebrate the Houston region.  Bob Harvey, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, addressed the crowd and outlined the Partnership's 88th Legislative Session Executive Priorities.  Austin Buzz: Dan Patrick announces re-election and energy report released What’s New: Days after his being sworn-in to a third term as the state’s Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick made public comments indicating he will “absolutely” run for a fourth term.  Worth a read: Texas Oil and Gas Association released its annual energy and economic impact report that provides data on the impact of the oil and gas industry on the Texas economy.  During the 88th Legislative Session, the Greater Houston Partnership will provide a weekly update on newsworthy items from Austin. You can view more policy news and archives of our weekly updates here.   
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Become a Member Today

Interested in joining the Partnership? Take the next step and learn how you can make an impact on Houston.

Get in touch with our team to:

  • Learn more about the Partnership's policy priorities
  • Get involved in a policy committee and meet industry peers 
  • Help shape the Partnership's policy initiatives
Taylor Landin
Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer
Public Policy
E
tlandin@houston.org
P
713-844-3624
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Partnership Staff
Executive Partners