AREAS OF FOCUS

Federal Advocacy

State Advocacy

Local Advocacy

 2020 Advocacy Platform

The Advocacy Committee monitors Civics, Infrastructure, and Community Life issues affecting the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce membership. The Committee is comprised of Chamber members and works closely with the Executive Director, Board Chair, elected officials, sister chambers in Austin, and the Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Together, we shape policy that protects member businesses and the LGBTQ+ workforce, and advocates for their economic prosperity.

The Committee supports the Chamber’s constituency by sharing timely information via events, communication channels, and the chamber network.

Below are key issues being monitored by the Advocacy Committee in 2020.

CIVICS

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

2020 U.S. Census

Voter Education

2021 Texas Legislative Session

INFRASTRUCTURE

COVID-19 Response

Regional Mobility

Affordable Housing

 

COMMUNITY LIFE

Health

Homelessness

Business-Friendly Regulatory Environment

CIVICS

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: We promote solutions for addressing systemic inequities faced by the Austin area workforce and by small businesses. We support minority-owned businesses and partner with other minority chambers of commerce. We are monitoring the effects of the Supreme Court decision related to protecting the LGBTQ+ workforce via Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and are educating members about the decision’s implication to Austin area employers.

2020 U.S. Census: For the first time, the U.S. Census is counting same-sex couples living together. The Chamber is leveraging this once-a-decade opportunity to help ensure that Austin’s LGBTQ+ community is accurately counted. This will help policy-makers secure federal funding locally for programs such as community development block grants, housing assistance, career and technical education grants, and projects for assistance in transition from homelessness.

Voter Education: The Chamber encourages its membership to educate their employees about voting rights and allow them time to vote, and supports mail-in voting as a smart solution as the COVID-19 crisis coincides with the 2020 election cycle.

2021 Texas Legislative Session: The Committee is preparing to advocate for the Chamber’s membership by working closely with the Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce and our other allies to support legislation that is good for Austin businesses, and to block prospective laws that would be harmful to the LGBTQ+ workforce and their advocates.

INFRASTRUCTURE

COVID-19 Response: Working with local government, the Chamber is providing the latest information and organizing webinars to help members understand business options via the CARES Act, and to carefully balance the reopening of businesses with protecting the health of employees and customers. This includes providing information about U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans, the City of Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan Program, and revisions to unemployment benefits via the Texas Workforce Commission.

Regional Mobility: The Chamber supports local transportation and transit proposals that will reduce traffic congestion, provide better ways for employees to get to work, and reduce air pollution. This includes Project Connect and the Interstate 35 improvements.

Affordable Housing: The Chamber is following the update of the City of Austin’s Land Development Code and supports revisions that help provide housing that is more affordable, and located more conveniently to downtown employers.

COMMUNITY LIFE

Health: The Advocacy Committee stays apprised of issues being prioritized by the Chamber’s Health Committee, and advocates for affordable health insurance and mental health.

Homelessness: The committee is monitoring the outcome of the January 2020 “Point In Time” count of Austin’s homeless population. An accurate count helps Austin secure federal funding to prevent and reduce homelessness, which is beneficial to the local economy, low-come wage earners and businesses with storefronts.

Business-Friendly Regulatory Environment: The Chamber supports policies and laws that minimize the burden of taxes while ensuring the community, in general, is economically and environmentally strong.