04 Jan 18 Jun Session Recap-Tina Cannon
To all of our LGBTQ business owners, we want to personally thank you for participating in our fight for pro-business polices and pro-equality legislation at the Texas Capitol this session. Business voices resonate with our leaders and as your legislative consultant in Austin, we made sure your voices were heard loud and clear.
Unfortunately, according to most longtime Capitol watchers, this was one of the worst sessions that we have had at the Texas Capitol in 30 years. There were more than 30 anti-LGBTQ bills this session, more than ever before, but with your help we beat back every one of them. Despite an unprecedented attack on our transgender kids here in Texas and across the nation, we were able to defeat all of them. While we were not able to push our pro-active agenda this session for the comprehensive non-discrimination bill, we will continue to make passing a law that protects all Texans are top priority until we make it happen.
The legislative session has concluded, but Governor Abbott has promised to call at least one special session in the fall for redistricting and possibly another special session this summer because his voter suppression bill did not pass this session.
We fought on the front lines this session not only for equality and pro-business issues, but we also fought strongly against the voter suppression bills, HB 6 and SB 7.
Despite many horrible bills that have passed we want to thank you our members of the LGBTQ business community for your work this session helping achieve some of our important business goals.
- We signed onto a business letter to oppose voter suppression SB 7
- We signed onto a letter to maintain the $100 million investment in the Texas Enterprise Fund during the budget process
- We advocated for expanded broadband HB5 access across the state and that bill will help make Texas more competitive
- We advocated for Medicaid Expansion and will continue to work on this as we expect negotiations with the federal government on an extended waiver for Texas or working to pass Medicaid Expansion in the future
- We have worked on a whole host of issues that impact our businesses across our state regarding transportation, job creation and helping to keep Texas a pro-business state
- We supported The Pandemic Liability Act SB 6 – Provides protections for employers that have operated in good faith during the Pandemic and in future pandemics.
- We supported HB 1195. It makes PPP loans nontaxable for the Texas Franchise Tax. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress offered certain forgivable loans and grants and clarified that these loans and grants are not considered income for federal tax purposes.
- We helped pass HB 4. It expands access to telemedicine and telehealth. The bill would require the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to expand and reimburse for telemedicine or telehealth services delivered through rural health clinics, Medicaid, and CHIP. Covered services would include preventative health and wellness services; case management services, including targeted case management; behavioral health services; occupational, physical, and speech therapy services; nutritional counseling services; and assessment services, including nursing services
- We stopped SB 10 The anti-lobby bill so that our cities, counties, school districts, chambers and others can lobby at the Texas Capitol to represent good public policy at the Texas Capitol
- We worked with our business coalition to try and pass an extension of Chapter 313, HB 4242 an important economic development tool providing school districts the opportunity to bring jobs and tax wealth to their district and encourages major investment by employers. (Unfortunately, this bill did not pass)
- We worked with the Senate and House authors for SB 14 to ensure nondiscrimination ordinances were not impacted by this bill. Last session, a similar bill threatened our NDOs, but this time because of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock, and our work with the Asset Business Coalition our NDOs are not impacted, and we are neutral on this bill that is important to many companies across the State of Texas (This bill also did not pass, and the ASSET Business Coalition has asked the governor to put it on the call for the Special Session)
Thank you all for your help this legislative session. We will soon be moving into one or two Special Legislative Sessions, and we will look forward to working with you again to ensure the voices of the LGBTQ business community are heard in Austin. Join our Advocacy committee!
President & CEO
Austin LGBT Chamber