87th legislative session priorities

87th legislative session priorities

ATA’s Vision

To make Austin a city of the future while protecting its unique culture and forging productive relationships between the tech community and policymakers.

To help achieve this vision, the ATA community encourages the support and passage of these bills during the 87th Texas Legislative Session. These bills would encourage the continued attraction and development of tech talent, promote civic participation and inclusion of the entire tech community, and ensure Austin’s continued status as a national leader in technology and innovation. 

Talent Development and Education

Austin’s greatest asset is its people. These bills would help ensure Austin continued to attract and develop leading tech talent.

  • H.B. 557 – Representative James White
    • As Texas’ technology sector continues to grow, so will the need for qualified workers. This bill would create a state-funded STEM Education Scholarship Program for Texas residents.
  • H.B 244 Representative Mary González
    • This bill would create a grant program to fund teacher education and professional development in coding and technology. Grants would be distributed to nonprofits, school districts, or institutions of higher education to accomplish this goal. 

Promoting Civic Participation and Inclusion

As elected officials continue to make important technology policy decisions, vibrant civic participation from Austin’s technology community is essential. These bills would promote civic participation by reducing barriers to voting across the state. 

  • H.B 57 – Representative James Talarico
      • This critical bill would increase civic education requirements for Texas primary schools. Enactment of this legislation would lay a foundation for Texas students to be better citizens in the future. 
  • H.B 584 – Representative Sheryl Cole
    • The more technology stakeholders who vote, the louder our community’s voice will be at the State Capitol. Rep. Cole’s H.B. 584 would automatically register a voter upon receiving a driver’s license or state identification card through the Texas Department of Public Safety. This bill would reduce the hassle necessary to participate in Texas elections. 

Keeping Texas Competitive

Austin is already developing and attracting world class tech talent. However, elected officials must keep Texas competitive for talent by making Austin as hospitable and inclusive as possible, keeping current and future members of the tech community safe, healthy, and happy. 

  • H.B 818 – Representative Sheryl Cole
      • Austin’s technology community maintains and develops modern communication tools, Rep. Cole’s H.B. 818 ensures their proper use and would amend the Texas Penal Code to add digital harassment, either on social media or through electronic communication. This will help ensure all Texans stay safe online. 
  • S.B. 154 – Senator Charles Perry, S.B. 506 – Senator Robert Nichols and H.B. 1446 – Representative Trent Ashby
    • As 2020 demonstrated, it’s important for technology workers and companies to flourish anywhere in Texas. However, counties as close to Austin as Bastrop have deficient access to critical infrastructure: Broadband internet access. Senator Perry’s S.B. 154, and the companion bills S.B 506 and H.B. 1446 by Senator Nichols and Rep. Ashby, seek to ameliorate that deficiency by creating offices within the State of Texas to encourage greater broadband accessibility in rural areas. This will ensure Texas’ tech workforce remains resilient and able to work throughout the state.

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