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88th Legislative Session

A thriving business environment that fosters economic development is critical to making Houston greater. In order to advance the Houston region, the Greater Houston Partnership supports policies that create a business environment attractive to leading global companies and skilled talent.

During the 88th Texas Legislative Session, the Partnership will focus on an impact agenda that addresses the most pressing issues facing the business community and the Houston region. We invite you to join us in continuing to advance these solutions and other measures to strengthen the region’s long-term growth and provide opportunity for all. Together, we make Houston greater.

Executive Priorities

Four key priorities will lead the Partnership's legislative agenda in 2023.

Economic Development Incentives 

Competitive economic development tools are critical to bringing new businesses to the region and growing our economy. The Partnership supports the creation of a new school property tax abatement program that makes our state attractive to emerging industries and ensures our long-term competitiveness.

Energy Transition 

Texas is poised to lead the energy transition and safeguard our place as the global energy leader. The Partnership supports removing regulatory roadblocks and creating certainty for those investing in the future of Texas energy.

Higher Education Funding 

The University of Houston is the region’s flagship public institution and continues to make meaningful strides in terms of student success and research funding. The Partnership supports increasing the state’s investment in the University of Houston.

Flood Mitigation 

The Legislature made a strong commitment in 2019 to strengthen local communities and make the state more resilient by creating the Flood Infrastructure Fund. The Partnership supports significant re-investment in the Flood Infrastructure Fund.


The Partnership will work on several key issues that impact business in this region.

Workforce Development 

Community colleges are essential to educating, certifying and training the workers needed to keep our economy strong. The Partnership supports student-focused and industry-led recommendations.
Public schools are facing a teacher workforce shortage. The Partnership supports targeted efforts to address this shortage and attract high-quality teachers to the classroom.
COVID placed tremendous strain on frontline healthcare workers resulting in workforce shortages in critical areas. The Partnership supports state programs and investment to attract the best and brightest to the profession.
The Partnership supports an all-of-the above approach to training and upskilling the region’s workforce to ensure leading technology and innovation companies have access to a robust talent pipeline.

Public Education 

A strong public education system is critical to the long-term prosperity of our region and state. The Partnership supports continued investment in public education, preservation of high-impact programs, and effective accountability measures.

Local Issues

The judicial system in Harris County is broken and not serving the needs of the region. The Partnership supports policies that would help to alleviate the felony court case backlog.


Equitable access to broadband will provide economic opportunities to all Texans. The Partnership supports continued state investment to address the digital divide and serve local communities.

See the Partnership's Full Legislative Agenda

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87th Legislative Session Summary

Learn how key elements of the Partnership's legislative agenda fared during the 87th Texas Legislative Session. 

Convening to Make an Impact

The Partnership's impact work happens through Committees, which convene business and community leaders to fuel the growth and vitality of the Houston region. 

Public Policy Updates

Related News

Public Policy

HOU in ATX: Legislative Update – Week 7

This week, Governor Abbott reinforces support for a new economic development incentive program, higher education institutions request funding, and the Partnership convenes at the Capitol.  Next week, House and Senate committees will begin meeting to consider legislative proposals, and the Partnership heads to D.C. to advocate for the region and its federal priorities.  Gov. Abbott urges lawmakers to act on economic development incentives    This week, Governor Greg Abbott made his strongest statement to date for a new economic development incentive program. The Governor expressed confidence the legislature would act during this legislative session, “there is a desire in the Capitol to make sure Texas does remain No. 1 for economic development,” by creating a new economic development program.  Key Highlights:  Governor Abbott cited to Texas’ recent loss of a major project to New York as a example of why economic development tools are necessary.  He also indicated that any future program would “not exactly replicate 313,” but would make certain Texas remains the best state for business. Why it matters: Abbott’s outspoken support is welcome news to proponents of a new economic development program, who believe a new program is critical to ensuring Texas remains competitive in winning large-scale projects. House Appropriations considers higher ed budget requests   This week, the Article III subcommittee of the House Appropriations committee heard testimony from state agencies and higher education institutions as they laid out their legislative appropriations requests. Why it matters: Houston institutions, including University of Houston and Texas Southern University, made bold requests for significant funding that would strengthen research opportunities, improve facilities, and provide student support services. The Partnership’s CEO, Bob Harvey, authored a letter to the appropriators in support of Texas Southern University’s request for increased research funding. Check out the letter here. Inside Austin: Coalitions are key   Collaborating with coalitions, trade associations, industry, and other community stakeholders is a key component of the Partnership’s work in Austin.  Big picture: This week, the Partnership joined several of our partners across the state as they visited Austin to discuss their priorities. We joined Texas Ports Association, Texas Chemical Council, Texas A&M’s Texas Energy Summit, Transportation Advocacy Group, and regional chambers of commerce from Chambers County, Pearland, and Fort Bend as they hosted their respective groups in the capitol. Click to expand Christian Bionat, Sr. Director Public Policy, led an advocacy group that met with Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) for Green Light Houston Day.  Next week in Austin   The House of Representatives began referring bills to their respective committees of jurisdiction on Thursday, February 23rd. Committee chairs are setting hearings to consider the legislative proposals. On February 23rd, Speaker Phelan announced four specific legislative priorities for the House, focusing on data security and privacy as well as supporting mothers and young children. These bills are the first in what will be a larger legislative package the Speaker supports for the 88th Legislative session. The remaining bills in the package have yet to be announced. HB 4 by Rep. Capriglione (R-Keller) to grant individuals new online rights, including the ability to crack down on how companies collect - and in some instances, profit from - personal data. HB 12 by Rep. Rose (D-Dallas) to extend Medicaid eligibility to new mothers to a year after the delivery of their child. HB 18 by Rep. Slawson (R-Stephenville) to equip parents with tools to keep their children safe online, including the ability to put a stop to addictive algorithms and prevent companies from collecting private information. HB 300 by Rep. Howard (D-Austin) to exempt diapers and wipes, along with feminine hygiene products, from the state’s sales tax.  Sneak peek: Washington D.C.  The Partnership is heading to Washington D.C. next Tuesday, February 28th. The trip will take Houston business leaders to our nation’s capital to advance important regional issues at the federal level. What's next: The group will engage with Members of Congress, administration officials, policy insiders, and key stakeholders to advocate for the Partnership’s key priorities for the 118th Congress, such as the energy transition, and infrastructure, specifically, the Coastal Spine.  Go deeper: See the trip’s packed agenda here. Stay informed on the trip’s activities by clicking here.  During the 88th Legislative Session, the Greater Houston Partnership will provide a weekly update on newsworthy items from Austin. You can view more policy news and archives of our weekly updates here.  Did someone forward this email to you? Subscribe here to get our weekly legislative updates.   
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Economic Development

HOU in ATX: Legislative Update – Week 6

This week, Gov. Abbott delivers State of the State address, announcing his emergency items, Senate Finance holds Natural Resources hearings, Lt. Gov Patrick releases top priorities, and House Appropriations held its first hearings.    Governor Abbott Delivers State of the State, Announces Emergency Items  Thursday evening, Governor Abbott delivered his biennial State of the State address at a manufacturing facility in San Marcos, sharing his legislative priorities for the 88th session. Typically held in the Texas House Chamber, it is the second time Abbott delivered his speech outside the Capitol complex.  In his speech, Abbott announced a list of seven emergency items:  Cutting property taxes Ending COVID-19 restrictions forever Education freedom for all Texans School safety Ending "revolving door" bail Securing the border Fighting the fentanyl crisis Some highlights: The Governor’s speech also mentioned three of the Partnership’s top executive priorities. Economic Development Incentives: Gov. Abbott conveyed support for strategic economic development tools in keeping Texas an attractive state for business. He stated the need for a new economic tool this session for the benefit of local communities.  Flood Mitigation: Gov. Abbott alluded to a proposed plan to spend $100 billion on transportation infrastructure, which would likely include flood mitigation advantages.  Higher & Public Education: Gov. Abbott expressed support for school choice, school safety, and investments in community colleges. Why it matters: The Governor’s designation of these seven emergency items allows the Legislature to immediately begin taking up legislation on these issues.    Senate Finance: Article VI, Natural Resources What’s new: This week, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on Article VI, the natural resources section of the budget. The General Land Office (GLO), Gulf Coast Protection District (GCPD), and Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) all testified.  GLO described the different sources of federal resiliency funds and the need for state matching dollars. GCPD explained the federal design process of the Coastal Texas Program gates in response to a local news article.  TWDB asked to replenish the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF) and for more staff to assist with implementation. Go deeper: During the hearing, Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) emphasized the need to increase the amount of funding in the FIF to address the flood mitigation needs of communities across the state.    Houston in Focus: The Partnership submitted a letter to to the committee emphasizing the need for reinvestment in the Flood Infrastructure Fund.    Lt. Governor Releases List of Priority Issues  On Monday, Lt. Governor Patrick announced his list of 30 priority bills for this legislative session.  Go deeper: Several priorities laid out by the Lt. Governor align with issues important to the business community, including issues relating to taxes, energy transition, flood mitigation, and higher education.  Business Property Tax Exemption (SB 5): Texas is one of only nine states with a business inventory tax, which can be a hinderance for economic development opportunities. Narrow exemptions for business personal property taxes can increase our ability to compete for future large-scale projects.  Addressing Texas’ Future Water Needs (SB 28): Texas is growing rapidly, meanwhile, the state’s population will continue to face increasingly severe weather events. Water infrastructure, including flood mitigation and drinking and wastewater projects are major priorities for state leaders to consider.  Health Care Workforce Shortages (SB 25): Many of the workforce shortages in the health care industry predate COVID-19, however it is increasingly difficult to recruit and retain health care workers, particularly nurses. The Lt. Governor is showing a commitment to addressing health care labor shortages by using state resources to reduce the overall burden of entering the nursing field in creating new scholarships for registered nurses.  Priorities relating to Higher & Public Education: Lt. Governor Patrick’s priorities signal a heightened focus on public and higher education. Several of the priorities are broadly supported, including the creation of a new university endowment, improving teacher pay and retention, and increasing school safety resources. The Lt. Governor released the full list of his priority bills on his website.    House Appropriations Kicks Off Budget Hearings  The House Appropriations Committee met this week to begin its budget discussions, starting off with a look at the state’s health and infrastructure investments. Agencies and regional stakeholders testified on the critical nature of many of these programs, including the postpartum Medicaid program, behavioral and mental health, and transportation, water, and flood mitigation funding. Postpartum Medicaid Coverage for New Mothers: Last session, the legislature extended postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 6 months but fell short of the recommend 12-month coverage. Texas has one of the highest maternal mortality rates and extending postpartum coverage is one way to help new mothers obtain the life-saving medical care they need. This week, the committee explored the impact of extending postpartum coverage for the full 12 months.  Behavioral and Mental Health: There has been a significant rise in behavioral and mental health challenges since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. To address these needs, the state has increased its investments in mental health resources and efforts to attract professionals to the field. Additionally, the committee explored ways the state can further invest in mental health resources, particularly focusing on public school and student needs.  Flood Mitigation Funding: Flooding mitigation is a top priority for many in the legislature and the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is pursuing the replenishment of the Flood Infrastructure Fund (FIF) and additional staff for implementation. The state-wide need for flood mitigation projects is estimated to be $42 billion. Concurrently, the Gulf Coast Protection District (GCPD) is seeking the required state matching funds the coastal barrier project.  House Appropriations Chairman Greg Bonnen also announced the appropriations subcommittee chairs and membership.    During the 88th Legislative Session, the Greater Houston Partnership will provide a weekly update on newsworthy items from Austin. You can view more policy news and archives of our weekly updates here.   
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Become a Member Today

Interested in joining the Partnership? Take the next step and learn how you can make an impact on Houston.

Get in touch with our team to:

  • Learn more about the Partnership's policy priorities
  • Get involved in a policy committee and meet industry peers 
  • Help shape the Partnership's policy initiatives
Taylor Landin
Senior Vice President and Chief Policy Officer
Public Policy
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Partnership Staff
Executive Partners