The North Texas Regional Chamber Coalition (RCC) is pleased to share this Accountability Index of the 86th Legislative Session. Our coalition is dedicated to advancing the vibrancy of the North Texas Region, and we feel it is important to communicate with our members and other regional stakeholders as to how this critical legislative session concluded. We understand that serving in public office is not easy and often includes significant personal and professional sacrifices, and for that we have offered sincere thanks to our 50 North Texas Representatives and Senators who represent our region.
Twelve recorded votes in the House and Senate were used to comprise this assessment. These third and final reading votes were carefully selected and approved because they represent issues that are critical to our state and region’s continued success, and as such were identified as a legislative priority by the RCC and publicized at the beginning of and throughout the session. This index reflects record votes represented as a “√” for voting with RCC priorities and an “X” for voting against the priorities.
In addition to the twelve issues included in this assessment, upholding current eminent domain laws was a priority of the RCC, and we opposed Senate Bill 421 as filed. Through the committee and amendment process, the policy in this harmful bill was neutralized and ultimately died in conference. The coalition will continue to educate our delegation and work to prevent any future legislation of like nature.
While we do appreciate the House and the Senate for continuing to protect local non-discrimination ordinances and for making improvements to Senate Bill 1978 before passing it into law, the RCC continues to have concerns regarding the discriminatory nature and potentially harmful narrative toward the LGBTQ community. The RCC will continue to advocate for legislation which is pro-business and makes Texas a more competitive state in terms of attracting and retaining talent, and we have and will continue to encourage our delegation members to take the same approach as they begin to prepare for the 87th Legislative Session.
The advancement of Texas’ high-speed rail initiative is critical for our sustained success as we continue to be one of the fastest growing states in the nation. Members of the House and Senate kept harmful anti-high-speed rail bills from coming to a full floor vote, and we continue to advocate for continued progress on this issue during the next session.
While the RCC did not score the recorded votes on Senate Bill 29 because it was not specifically listed as a priority of the coalition entering the session, we commended those members of the House and Senate who voted against the measure and chose to not limit cities and counties from hiring third-party lobbyists or from paying dues to organizations who do engage in lobby activities.
Texas has set our nation’s standard for economic prosperity and job creation for nearly two decades. The RCC deeply believes that to maintain this status Texas must avoid unnecessary, divisive issues that distract from our economic success, but instead continue to pursue ways to further prepare our current and future workforce, keep the tools in place that make us economically competitive with other states, and respect local control in the same way we expect the federal government to respect our state’s rights. While this session was not perfect in those regards, aspects of the 86th Legislative Session do help move Texas into the future and the RCC remains committed to working productively with our delegation in tackling those critical issues that we must still address.