Update: ATA’s 87th legislative session priorities

Update: ATA’s 87th legislative session priorities

Austin Tech Alliance’s policy and advocacy focus supports using technology as a tool to help address civic challenges and promoting tech-forward policies.

At the start of the session, we published initial legislative priority bills that the ATA community supports and encourages the passage of during the 87th Session. Over 7,467 bills have been filed during the 60 day bill filing period, which expired on Friday, March 12. 

Legislation we support

We’ve prioritized additional bills that the ATA community supports that will ensure Austin’s continued status as a national leader in technology and innovation.

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. These nondiscrimination bills would drive economic competitiveness and growth.

  • H.B. 3860 – Representative Jessica González

S.B. 1540 – Senator José Menéndez

  • Texas can avoid major competitive risks – and win investment, business, and talent – by sending a clear and consistent signal that the LGBTQ+ community is fully welcome here. These bills will add veteran status, sexual orientation, and gender identity to Texas’ existing employment and housing nondiscrimination laws. This would also create public accommodations protections on the basis of race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status.

Legislation we oppose

The ATA community has also identified different legislation that would be harmful for civic participation and inclusion, and would impede technology businesses. It is our priority to defeat these bills because they run counter to our vision and mission.

Civic Participation & Inclusion

As elected officials continue to make important technology policy decisions, vibrant civic participation from Austin’s technology community is essential. This bill threatens to create anti-voter restrictions that would attack our every Texan’s right to vote. 

  • S.B.  7 – Senators Bryan Hughes, Paul Bettencourt, Brian Birdwell, Dawn Buckingham, Donna Campbell, Brandon Creighton, Bob Hall, Lois Kolkhorst, Jane Nelson, Angela Paxton, Charles Perry, Charles Schwertner, Drew Springer
    • After one of the most secure and safest elections in the state’s history with measures taken by county officials to keep Texans safe while voting, Texas needs more protection for civic participation through voting, not voter suppression. ATA opposes this bill, which would make voting more restrictive by: 
      • Knee-capping local election officials from adopting measures to facilitate voting
      • Preventing local election officials from distributing vote-by-mail applications
      • Granting the Attorney General nearly-unlimited authority to go on witch-hunts for suspected fraud claims
      • Holding elections officials legally responsible for innocent, clerical mistakes
      • Blocking third-party groups, like ATA, from distributing vote-by-mail applications.
      • Restricting vote-by-mail eligibility only to people who physically cannot enter a polling place
      • Requiring that voters who cannot physically enter a polling place provide medical documentation to qualify for vote-by-mail.

A Competitive Texas

Elected officials must keep Texas competitive for talent and businesses by making Austin as hospitable and inclusive as possible, and Texas friendly to tech business. 

  • S.B. 12 – Senators Bryan Hughes, Paul Bettencourt, Donna Campbell, Lois Kolkhorst, Jane Nelson, Charles Perry, Charles Schwertner, Drew Springer
    • This bill would allow Texans the ability to sue social media for censorship. This would effectively remove content restrictions and leave objectionable, harmful content available online. We believe that private companies have the right to choose their own protocols and that dictating how tech companies operate by opening up the potential for lawsuits is not good for business.

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