Advocacy Update – A recap of 2023

88th Legislative Session

While the 88th Legislative Session opened on January 10, 2023, the Frisco Chamber’s advocacy work for this year started several months prior, with the passing of our Legislative Priorities in October 2022. Our priorities focused on eight key areas: local control, business regulation, economic development, public education, higher education & workforce, healthcare, infrastructure, and emergency management/disaster recovery. Let’s look at how your Frisco Chamber made an impact and how you can participate in our 2024 advocacy efforts.

Financial Literacy

After years of feedback from our members that employees, even those who were highly skilled and educated, routinely lacked a strong understanding of finances, we decided to make financial literacy education our top priority in this session, in alignment with our strategic plan. We met with key stakeholders in public education and the workforce to carefully prepare a draft that could have the strongest impact on students and be feasible for school districts to implement. Our draft was well-received by the Legislative Council, which meant we were on our way to finding a sponsor! Representative Mihaela Plesa of HD 70, which covers part of Frisco ISD, filed House Bill 4342 on our behalf. The bill was designed to strengthen financial literacy in Texas public high schools, to help students excel personally, and to meet the evolving workforce needs.

For the first time, the Frisco Chamber had achieved the filing of a bill, and our work in Austin doubled down. HB 4342 earned a hearing in the House Committee on Public Education thanks to the numerous business and community leaders who shared their support with our delegates. On April 18, 2023, we arrived at the Capitol at 6:47 AM for an 8:00 AM scheduled hearing in front of the committee.

With several speakers anticipated to testify, we were anxious as the hours ticked by far past our original time. Finally, at 11:20 PM, Rep. Plesa laid out HB 4342 before the committee, and then Frisco Chamber President/CEO Tony Felker testified for the bill on behalf of the business community.

To the businesses, students, parents, and community leaders who answered our calls-to-action and shared your support of HB 4342 with our delegates – THANK YOU! We are proud to report that it passed the committee and the House of Representatives unanimously! And while the bill stalled in the Senate, we did have bipartisan support that can provide a foundation to build in the upcoming sessions. HB 4342 is a perfect example of how advocacy for and with the business community can have a tangible impact on policy and legislation.

Many Days at the Capitol

During the 88th Legislative Session, the Frisco Chamber participated in the University of North Texas Advocacy Day, Collin County Days, Denton County Days, Leadership Frisco Day at the Capitol, and City of Frisco Day at the Capitol. Each visit allowed us the opportunity to meet with our elected officials.

Public School Funding

Throughout the special sessions, we focused on supporting legislation to protect public school funding and support our future workforce. Our Board of Directors added a priority for the special sessions: Keep public tax dollars in public schools. We joined the “Grow Texas Talent Initiative,” a statewide group of business community leaders and chambers united in their commitment to bolster public education. Spearheaded by the North Texas Commission (NTC), the initiative was an influential partner in successfully stopping the legislation. Realizing there will likely be an additional special session in early 2024 focused on this area, we continue imperative work with our colleagues in the Grow Texas Talent Initiative.

Other Advocacy Efforts

In addition to our state advocacy, your Frisco Chamber was active at the federal and local levels. We participated in the NTC’s “DC Fly In” and met directly with North Texas Congressional delegates to share concerns about policy and legislation that affects our business community.

The Frisco Chamber’s Leadership Exchange (LEX) trip provided the perfect setting to share collaborative business needs with the Mayor, City Council members, and staff. In addition, we are excited to be members of the Rail District Merchant’s Association and work alongside the RDMA and City of Frisco to redevelop the Rail District.

As 2023 comes to a close, we thank our Frisco Chamber members who shared ideas, concerns, and their voices in our advocacy efforts this year. As we look to develop a comprehensive list of advocacy priorities for 2024, be sure to watch for our advocacy survey in early 2024, and please share your thoughts.

Thank you for supporting our efforts this year. We will continue to be a strong voice for our business community in Frisco and the North Texas region in 2024 and beyond. Wishing everyone happy holidays and a prosperous new year!

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