AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan announced three additional legislative priorities for the lower chamber on Wednesday, focused on economic and workforce development as population growth in the Lone Star State booms at a “rapid pace.”

“As Texas continues to grow and attract even more business that creates jobs and spurs local economies, our state must ensure that we have the kinds of tools to keep us competitive with others on a national and global scale, Phelan said in a press release.

Phelan’s announcement comes a week after unveiling his first round of priorities, including four bills related to Texans’ privacy and maternal support.

Three bills will be part of a larger legislative package full of Phelan’s priorities in the House, according to the news release.

  • House Bill 5 by Rep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi 
  • House Bill 8 by Rep. Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston 
  • House Bill 19 by Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction 

House Bill 5 (Texas Jobs & Security Act)

HB 5 would “provide Texas with a critical economic development tool to create additional jobs, investments and tax revenue, keeping the state competitive in drawing businesses to relocate or expand here.” The bill would create short-term incentives to target large capital projects related to “manufacturing, national security and energy infrastructure.”

With the bill, there would be transparency into how those state incentive dollars are used and the economic impact of any projects.

House Bill 8

HB 8 would change the funding methods for Texas community colleges to reward institutions more for the “important role they play with associate degrees, non-credit workforce education programs and other credentials of value that will be required in more than 60% of jobs in the state over the next decade.”

Additionally, the bill would create a new scholarship program to help increase opportunities for Texans from lower socioeconomic backgrounds while they are still in high school, through things like dual credit courses. It would also “enable colleges to expand their range of offered academic and workforce programs.” 

House Bill 19

HB 19 would create a business court system in Texas, “strengthening the state’s already strong pro-business reputation that has driven economic and job growth to the state.” Phelan says a specialized court system would help in the case of “complex business cases” by creating a different channel for companies to resolve legal matters.