Position Statements for the 2021 Texas Legislative Session

Our Mission: Advancing Business, Strengthening Community

Our Key Strategies:

  • Grow our Members’ Businesses
  • Foster Economic Prosperity
  • Amplify the Voice of Business
  • Develop the Community’s Future

The 1,200 representatives of community leaders, member businesses, and organizations that are the Hurst Euless Bedford Chamber of Commerce have joined together to speak to our local legislative representatives with one voice. Our vision is for legislation that will result in the greatest economic and community prosperity in Hurst Euless Bedford, Tarrant County, the North Texas Region, and the State of Texas. Our agenda seeks the continuation of the economic success our state and region currently enjoy by creating sound policies that ensure we have the necessary tools, talent, infrastructure, and healthcare systems for economic and community prosperity.

Critical Priorities for the 87th Texas Legislature

• Keep all current economic development tools including reauthorization of Chapter 313 and funding the Governor’s, Enterprise Fund.
• Fund and protect HB3 making only minor tweaks necessary to correct unintended consequences in the original drafting of the legislation.
• Maintain the funding from Propositions 1 and 7 and explore creative financing methods including expanded public-private partnerships to leverage state investment in critical transportation infrastructure.
• Maximize federal funds to expand healthcare coverage and access through both the public and private market, including the use of Medicaid 1115 waivers and Local Provider Participation Funds.

Detailed Legislative Agenda for the 87th Texas Legislature

Economic Development

  1. Support the reauthorization of Chapter 313 of the Tax Code for 10 years with minor improvements that allow independent school districts to participate in economic development incentives.
  2. Support funding of the Governor’s Enterprise Fund and other economic development tools now available.
  3. Support economic development incentives that produce high paying jobs in high-poverty zip codes in Texas.
  4. Support continued use of eminent domain to facilitate construction of highways, rail, pipelines, electric transmission lines, etc.

Workforce and Talent Development

  1. Support appropriating funds for retraining of displaced workers using a combination of community colleges, workforce boards, and private employers.
  2. Support legislation that ensures there is no discrimination in Texas on the basis of race, religion, national origin, or gender identity.
  3. Support returning military professional access to comparable state licenses with minimal retraining and cost.
  4. Support funding quality, affordable daycare to increase workforce participation.

Public Education

  1. Support continued funding of HB3 with minor tweaks necessary to remedy unintended consequences of the original legislation.
  2. Support expansion of broadband to ensure all students in Texas have equal access to education.
  3. Support allocation of emergency funds to public education to make the adjustments required by the global pandemic.
  4. Support elimination of unfunded mandates placed on public education.

Higher Education

  1. Support appropriating funds for the formulas from the 86th Legislature before other funding priorities. 
  2. Support funding the Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI) and the Core Research Fund (CRF).  
  3. Support rigorous dual credit courses, early college high schools, and advanced placement testing to reduce the number of credit hours that must be completed after high school to make college more affordable. 

Healthcare

  1. Support maximizing federal matching funds to extend healthcare coverage and access to working poor, self-employed, and uninsured Texans through both the public and private market.
  2. Support funding additional physician residency slots and the Professional Nursing Shortage Reduction Fund. 
  3. Support additional funding for inpatient, outpatient, and community-based behavioral health services and for Mental Health Professionals in the public education setting.
  4. Support making permanent the relaxing of the scope of practice and telehealth restrictions made during the Covid-19 pandemic consistent with safe, effective patient care.

Infrastructure

  1. Support continued use of all dedicated Proposition 1 and 7 funds for transportation infrastructure. 
  2. Support innovative financing plans including expanded use of Public-Private Partnerships to leverage state funds for transportation infrastructure. 
  3. Support creation of a state plan for the expansion of broadband to every county in Texas providing affordable basic access for distance learning and telemedicine. 
  4. Support tolled managed lanes being added to existing public highways where the number of free lanes remains the same after completion. 
  5. Support measures to protect the Texas electrical grid.                                                                

Rochelle Ross receives Distinguished Alumnus Award from Leadership HEB

The Distinguished Alumnus Award is given to a Chamber member who is involved, graduated Leadership HEB, and distinguished themselves in a Leadership role within the HEB Chamber and community. This person must enthusiastically support leadership HEB.  

This year’s recipient, Rochelle Ross from A Simplified Space, is extremely enthusiastic! You might even call her joyfully enthusiastic. She has been called the Chamber’s honorary cheerleader. In a former life, she was a cheerleader.  She has many accomplishments.

Rochelle served a three-year term on the HEB Chamber Board of Directors, she has chaired the Chamber’s Golf Tournament. She has been an active member of the Leadership HEB Steering Committee and served as chairman for the past 3 years.

Rochelle is a member of the Board of Trustees for the HEB School district. She also serves on the board of HEB ISD Education Foundation. Because of her energy and enthusiasm for “all things Chamber,” she was the 2015 recipient of our Gertrude Tarpley Memorial Spirit Award. We appreciate her strong commitment to the HEB Chamber of Commerce and our HEB community. 

Rochelle received the 2020 Distinguished Alumnus award at the August Luncheon of the HEB Chamber of Commerce on August 13, 2020 at the Hurst Conference Center.

How to apply for Small Business Loans from the SBA due to COVID-19

The HEB Chamber previously sent out detailed information about the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) and the different options to get financial help to keep your employees and cover some of your business expenses during this challenging time. Senator John Cornyn tells us that we should get more information and dates when programs are available towards the end of this week.   

The SBA held a virtual meeting to go over the different programs in the CARES Act that can provide financial assistance for businesses on Thursday, April 2, at 11:00 a.m. for several area chambers of commerce.    The recording has been uploaded to YouTube and the PowerPoint slides used in the presentation are included in the link below.

What you and your business need to know about COVID-19

Article updated: 04-06-2020

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues to increase as a global and local concern. Although we do not know of any active cases in our area, the HEB Chamber of Commerce will continue to monitor the situation. All HEB Chamber events have been canceled through April 30. The Chamber staff will be answering phones and emails.

In addition, we want to offer you information and resources in order that you and your company can continue to operate as efficiently and as safely as possible.

Our COVID-19 LINKS page includes key resources we believe you will find useful.

Many of our members are going to be hard hit through this crisis and as a community, we will look to help each other as much as possible. There has been a lot of political talk about help to come for businesses affected by the economic shutdown. While that situation continues to develop, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has a Disaster Assistance Program in place where the SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters. Here is a link to the program!

For information on COVID-19, you can access Texas Health’s website or you can call the Texas Health Coronavirus Hotline at 682-236-7601 to speak with a nurse 24/7.

We’re working to provide accurate and up-to-date materials to our members and will continue to update our website with additional resources.

Please let us know how the HEB Chamber of Commerce can be a resource to you and your business.

Wash your hands – don’t touch your face – stay home if you are sick!

10 Questions, 10 Minutes, Every 10 Years . . .

Every 10 years, the U. S. Census Bureau, a nonpartisan government agency, counts every person living in the United States, no matter what their citizenship status.  The count is mandated by the U. S. Constitution.  The answers provided by households are used to produce statistics about states, counties, cities and census tracts.  The Census Bureau is required by law to keep individual information confidential and not share it with any other government agency. 

Between March 12 and 20, every home will receive a postcard explaining how to participate in the 2020 Census.  The household can respond online, by phone or by mail.   If a household does not receive a postcard, they can go online to my2020census.gov to complete the Census.  Households who have not responded by April 30 will be visited by a Census employer.  Census employees will have identification and the interviewer can be verified by calling 972/510-1800.  You will not receive an email to ask for your Census information, nor will you be asked for your social security number, bank information, citizenship, passwords or for monetary donations.

More people counted in our community means more money can be allotted for programs and projects in our community.  Census data affects more than $675 billion of funding for more than 100 programs, including school lunches, career, and technical education, business and industry loans, homeland security grants, Head Start, grants for mental health services, SNAP, highway construction, Community Development Block Grants, crime victim’s assistance and more.  In Texas, a one-percent undercount could cost our state $300 million annually in federal funding.  Businesses rely on Census data for market research, economic development and where to expand locations.  Additionally, the Census is used for apportionment – deciding how many representatives an area/state has in the U. S. Congress and redrawing legislative districts and voting precincts.

Please share this information with your friends, associates, and employees.  A complete count is an important initiative for us all!  For more information go to 2020Census.gov.   #CountMeInHEB

Hire Santa: Real Santa Claus for Hire

Hire Santa founder Mitch Allen found so much joy in playing Santa for friends and area businesses that he decided to turn it into a real enterprise, so he founded Hire Santa. He has engaged these men as traditional holiday and Christmas entertainers who are serious about their appearance and presentation.

Mitch, who has a slim physique and, therefore, used extensive padding to fill out his Santa suit, now offers Santa services with professional Santas all across America’s major cities.

His clients include malls and retailers who need well-groomed and professionally behaving Santas, Mrs. Santas and elves throughout the Christmas season, so the bulk of his work falls within a six-week period. Mitch also engages his Santa teams for holiday parties at businesses inside homes as well as birthday parties.

Hire Santa offers a broad selection of realistic Santa Claus performers that bring joy and entertainment to everyone in attendance, from children to adults.

Mitch appeared as an elf and was accompanied by an entourage of 20 Santa performers, Mrs. Claus and additional elves on the December 2, 2018 edition of Shark Tank. He pitched a 10% ownership stake for $200,000 to the Sharks: Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin (Mr. Wonderful) O’Leary, Lori Grenier and Daymond John.

At the end of the show, three of the sharks entered into a feeding frenzy to be on Santa’s good list, which resulted in Barbara Corcoran prevailing.

Please look forward to seeing Mitch tell his story about Hire Santa and the story behind the scenes of Shark Tank at the HEB Chamber luncheon on Thursday, October 10, at Texas Star Conference Center in Euless.

For reservations, call the Chamber office at 817-283-1521. Mitch will put you into the Christmas holiday spirit two months early!