Austin Tech Alliance’s policy and advocacy focus supports using technology as a tool to help address civic challenges and promoting tech-forward policies.
Austin, as everybody knows, is growing. To build a brighter future for our city, it’s important to maintain the dialogue between our flourishing tech community and our state legislators at the Capitol.
This legislative session, we’ve identified bills in both the state House and Senate that would affect how Texans live, and how Texas businesses operate. These bills will influence civic participation, business management, and technology. Like legislation in previous sessions, some of these bills would make life in Texas easier, and some would make it harder.
Legislation we support:
- HB 67/241/502 (D–Ortega, Bucy & Meza) & SB 120 (D–Menéndez & Johnson) makes every voting-age Texan eligible to vote by mail or personal appearance, including folks who are currently in jail for misdemeanors, without needing an excuse, such as being out of county, age, or disability.
- HB 1273 (D–Ortega) amends the Election Code to optionally extend the early voting period to one “continuing for any number of consecutive days up to and including the day before election.
- HB 567 (D–Bowers) would amend the Education and Labor Codes, respectively, to prohibit discrimination based on hair texture or hairstyles in educational settings and employment.
- SB 110 (D–Menéndez & Eckhardt) & HB 1012 (González) prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or military veteran status.
- SB 111 (D–Menéndez), SB 82 (D–Johnson) & HB 970 (D–Zwiener) makes homosexual conduct no longer a criminal offense and removes language from statute that says that homosexuality “is not an acceptable lifestyle”.
- HB 584 (R–Capriglione) amends the Government Code to establish a state information technology credential program to be offered at public community colleges to “address shortages in the state information resources workforce”.
- SB 31 (D–Zaffirini) would require that utilities connect the ERCOT grid to grids outside the ERCOT region and give them the ability to purchase power at wholesale prices from outside the ERCOT region.
Legislation we oppose:
- HB 919 (R–Slaton) amends the Election Code to restrict early voting to an eight-day period instead of the current thirteen.
- SB 375 (R–Huffman): Texas Senate redistricting bill. House and SBOE companion bills needed.
- HB 678 (R–Bell): gives AG power to appoint CA or DA from adjacent county as a special prosecutor in an “election crime”.
- HB 125 (R–Slaton): allows the AG to seek a court-ordered injunction to stop a local prosecutor from “limiting election law enforcement”.
- SB 147 (R–Kolkhorst): would prohibit citizens of or businesses from China, Iran, North Korea, or Russia from purchasing or acquiring titles to real property in Texas.
We’ll keep an eye on these bills as they make their way through the legislative process and provide an update on them mid-session.