Press Release: ATA announces updated Texas 87th legislative session priorities

Press Release: ATA announces updated Texas 87th legislative session priorities

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Austin Tech Alliance supports using technology as a tool to help address civic challenges and promoting tech-forward policies. Our vision is 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, ATA is advocating for policy that will encourage the continued attraction and development of tech talent, promote civic participation and inclusion, and ensure Austin’s continued status as a national leader in technology and innovation.

Austin’s greatest asset is its people. ATA supports the passing of H.B. 557, which would create a state-funded STEM Education Scholarship Program for Texas residents, and H.B 244, which would create a grant program to fund teacher education and professional development in coding and technology.

The more technology stakeholders who vote, the louder our community’s voice will be at the State Capitol; we support protections for civic participation and oppose voter suppression tactics. ATA supports H.B. 57, which would reduce barriers to voting by increasing civic education requirements for Texas primary schools, and H.B. 584 that would automatically register a voter upon receiving a driver’s license or state identification card through the Texas Department of Public Safety. ATA opposes S.B. 7 because it would impose voting restrictions that would attack every Texans’ right to vote.

Elected officials must keep Texas competitive for talent and business by making Austin as hospitable and inclusive as possible. ATA supports the nondiscrimination bills H.B. 3860 and S.B. 1540 that would add veteran status, sexual orientation, and gender identity to Texas’ existing employment and housing nondiscrimination laws. ATA supports H.B. 818 that would amend the Texas Penal Code to add digital harassment, either on social media or through electronic communication, to ensure that Texans stay safe online.

As a matter of keeping Texas competitive, ATA opposes legislation that will open technology companies up for frivolous litigation and therefore advocate against S.B. 12 that would allow Texans the ability to sue social media companies for censorship. We believe that private companies have the right to choose their own protocols and that dictating how tech companies operate their platforms is not good for business. Finally, ATA supports efforts to increase affordable and reliable broadband connectivity, which would increase access to critical infrastructure for technology workers and companies to flourish anywhere in Texas. We are encouraged by the Governor’s prioritization of broadband access as an emergency item and hope to see urban and suburban areas included. ATA supports the broadband bills S.B. 5, H.B. 5, S.B. 154, S.B. 506, and H.B. 1446.

Austin Tech Alliance is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit with over 4,000 individual and 60 company members that are interested and invested in building a culture of civic engagement in Austin’s tech sector. To learn more visit austintech.org

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