Texas needs high-quality jobs so that everyone has a fair shot for success. Texas’ strong and diverse economy is the backbone of everything we can do — good jobs improve people’s lives, and successful businesses help generate revenue for public education, health care, and countless other critical services for our state.
Unfortunately, the economy under Governor Greg Abbott is buckling. Texas has dropped from #3 to #21 in crucial economic rankings. Under Abbott’s watch, Texas Republicans’ continue to focus on divisive and discriminatory social issues and policies that will further harm our state’s economy.
Fortunately, Texas House Democrats are ready with solutions. During the 2017 Legislative Session, we filed a series of minimum wage bills to help Texas families succeed. We passed legislation, like House Bill 108 by Rep. Carol Alvarado, to attract a more high-skilled workforce so Texas businesses can fill jobs that are in high demand. We fought for big principles like equal pay for equal work, and for simple solutions like protecting employees from losing their tips to their employers.
Here’s a sample of some of the legislation championed by Texas House Democrats in 2017:
High Skills Workforce Development Fund
The bill allows the Texas Workforce Commission to use existing skills development funds to provide intensive and rapid response to, and support services for, employers expanding in or relocating their operations to Texas. This will ensures businesses know they have access to the high-skilled workforce they need, allowing Texans to better compete for well-paying jobs.
Dropout Prevention and Workplace Development for At-Risk Students
The bill helps schools offer dropout recovery programs online, including alternative education programs designed to address workforce development. Creating a variety of requirements for the programs, and including monthly reporting on progress, helps better foster success and increase graduation rates for at-risk students.
Job Training for Trade and Industrial Workforce
Provides educator preparation programs for Texans seeking certification in trade and industrial workforce training, which should help alleviate the shortage of trained workers in Texas’ technical professions.
Creation of Public Benefit Corporations
HB 3488 creates a framework for a new type of Texas corporation, a Public Benefit Corporation (B-Corps)–a purely voluntary status through which a company is incorporated to pursue a public benefit or a social good AND profits. Considering the current alarming political climate of disinvestment in important societal goods (think Paris Climate Agreement), a B-Corps offers a tool through which the private sector can invest in our community to help minimize damage and sustain progress where possible.
Improved Staffing at Workers’ Compensation Offices
The bill makes it easier for Texas Workers’ Compensation offices across the state to staff up certain positions, thereby making it easier for workers to file and receive claims for injuries sustained on the job.
Economic Development in Houston, Texas
The bill creates a “Stadium Park Management District” to assist with the economic development projects currently underway near Houston’s Reliant Center.