Advocacy - Public Policy

The Texas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Chambers of Commerce is a coalition of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce, North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, and San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce. We work to achieve equality and inclusion by promoting economic vitality in our communities and strengthening LGBT and ally businesses.

The 1,000+ LGBTQ and Allied businesses of the Chambers speak with one voice. We call upon our local elected representatives to introduce or support legislation that supports diversity in the workplace and opposes discrimination. We know, in Texas, when business thrives, people prosper. For this to happen, all Texans must be included and respected.

Sign on to a letter opposing SB 17 and HB 2827  (Click Here

• SB 17, by Sens. Charles Perry, Brian Birdwell (previously SB 444)
          Status: filed 3/7/19, referred to Senate State Affairs 3/7/19 (Chair: Joan Huffman)
• HB 2827 by Rep. Phil King
          Status: referred to House State Affairs 3/12/19 (Chair: Dade Phelan)

State agencies license hundreds of occupations: doctors, nurses, first responders, and pharmacists; counselors and social workers; real estate agents, accountants, and lawyers; and barbers, tow truck operators, manicurists, and heating/cooling technicians.

This bill is concerned with “free exercise of religion” and “sincerely held religious belief” for applicants or holders of occupational licenses. The only exceptions are medical professionals in situations “necessary to prevent death or imminent serious bodily injury,” and peace officers.

The bill would empower occupational license holders (about one-third of Texas workers) to discriminate in their daily work by stripping the ability of state licensing agencies to adopt a rule or policy, or impose a penalty, that prohibits discrimination by license holders.

While licensing agencies would still be able to take action “to ensure that the standard of care or practice…is satisfied,” it appears that those agencies would be unable to revoke a license or take other action if service or care were simply refused. The bill would certainly prohibit those agencies from adopting a policy of non-discrimination.

If you have questions about this letter, please contact Jessica Shortall email.

Business Press Conference – Wednesday, March 27 @ 1:00 PM 

Business leaders will stand up against discrimination! This will be the first and perhaps only news conference, and as some of our strongest business supporters have said, it needs to be a line in the sand.  Wednesday March 27 at 1 p.m. inside the Capitol at the Old Supreme Court Room on the 3rd floor of the Capitol. (3N3)

The Texas LGBT Chambers of Commerce will join Texas Welcomes All Coalition, Texas Competes, Tech Net and the North Texas Commission and others
to oppose bills that will harm our travel and tourism industry, business and
the Texas brand.  

Speakers include David Edmonson from TechNet, Jessica Shortall of Texas Competes Action, and Chris
Wallace or Scott Orr from the North Texas Commission.
 
If you are planning to attend the Press Conference, please contact Angela Hale email
 

Testify Against SB 17

The Senate State Affairs Committee will hear testimony on SB 17 on Monday, March 25, or Thursday, March 28
 
If you are able to testify, please contact Samatha Smoot email.

The coalition of Texas LGBT Chambers support or oppose the following as part of our collective legislative agenda.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

SUPPORT: Continued funding of the Texas Enterprise Fund at a sufficient level to remain competitive with other states.

SUPPORT: Increasing funding to market Texas as a preferred tourism destination outside the state.

SUPPORT: Continued funding of both the Events Trust Fund and Major Events Trust Fund.

OPPOSE:  Any legislation that would be discriminatory or otherwise damage Texas’ reputation as “business-friendly” or negatively impact tourism.

 

EDUCATION

SUPPORT: Increasing funding for full day pre-K and early childhood education for all children.

SUPPORT: Continue current level of funding for tuition assistance for low income Texans including the Texas Grants and Texas Equalization Grants programs.

SUPPORT: Modifying higher education funding system to incentivize workforce readiness, certificate attainment and degree completion.

SUPPORT: Funding placement of mental health professionals in K-12 educational settings for early identification and treatment of mental illness.

OPPOSE:  Any unfunded mandates on education providers.

OPPOSE:  Diversion of any taxes collected as “School Taxes”.

 

HEALTHCARE

SUPPORT: Reducing the number of uninsured Texans by securing all available federal funds for the state Medicaid program.

SUPPORT: Increasing mental health funding, as well as alcohol and prescription drug dependency and abuse funding, to reduce overall burden placed upon taxpayers.

SUPPORT: Increasing funding for HIV services.

 

TRANSPORTATION

SUPPORT: Maintaining all transportation funding from Prop 1 and Prop 7 and the continued policy of no diversions from the State Highway Trust Funds.

SUPPORT: Construction of toll roads to ease congestion when funds available from taxes are not adequate for construction.

SUPPORT: Use of public-private partnerships to build transportation infrastructure.

SUPPORT: The reasonable use of eminent domain and related tools to allow for development of expanded transportation corridors including high-speed rail, commuter rail, freight rail, highways, telecommunication, water and gas pipelines.

SUPPORT: Updating transportation funding formulas to collect an alternative tax on vehicles that use Texas roads but do not use gasoline. 

OPPOSE: Any legislation that would create a jet fuel tax.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

SUPPORT: Maintain local control of property tax and appraisal decisions.

OPPOSE:  Any attempt by state legislators to preempt cities or counties ability to govern and raise funds as deemed necessary.

PUBLIC SAFETY

SUPPORT: Development, implementation and funding a plan that will reduce the probability of deadly assaults in Texas Schools.

OPPOSE:  Arming teachers and administrators as a solution to deadly assaults in schools.

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