Business Matters Fall 2018 - Page 32

Education & Workforce Development We must ensure that our next generation of American entrepreneurs and workers are properly equipped with the education and skills needed to compete in a global business environment. Higher Education ( TA M U C C / D e l M a r C o l l e g e / U T M S I ) University of Texas Marine Science Institute. UTMSI was severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey. We support funding for UTMSI for recovery and rebuilding. We support NOAA supplemental funding to specifically rebuild the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (MA-NERR). MA-NERR is a nationally essential program to monitor & provide baseline data for coastal ocean Health and navigational aids to commercial and recreational shipping and boat traffic. Texas A&M University Corpus Christi: Unmanned Aerial Systems. The Chamber supports funding to develop research and development opportunities in the agencies of Defense, Homeland Security and Agriculture for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). As one of six FAA designated test sites nationwide, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi can be at the forefront of innovation and economic development related to this emerging technology and industry. Support the Pell Grant Program. The Chamber supports protection of the Pell Grant surplus, and the utilization of surplus funds to re- invest in the program. Allow Pell funding to cover more than four community college semesters and allow maximum awards to be adjusted for inflation. We support additional access to Pell Grants for short-term workforce programs. Perkins Act. Reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act to maintain program flexibility, allowing community colleges to address local needs while strengthening CTE programs. Enhance student pathways that promote college and career readiness and strengthen community college ties to businesses. Higher Education Act. Reauthorize the Higher Education Act and incorporate financial literacy components to avoid students borrowing more than they can reasonably repay. Establish an official six-year graduation rate for community colleges. Create a national student record data system to effectively track student enrollment, migration, completion and earnings information. Regulation Regulation Reform. Compliance costs imposed by new regulations are burdensome to small business and restrict economic growth. Needed reforms include modernizing the process by which rules are promulgated, streamlining the permitting process, and ending the process known as “sue and settle”. Oppose unfunded mandates imposed by regulations. Energy Keep energy affordable for businesses and families. The Chamber supports an all inclusive strategy that utilizes a variety of energy options - from the traditional and important sources of coal, oil, and LNG to nuclear and innovative renewables. Growth and prosperity. The Texas Energy Industry is creating jobs, raising incomes and increasing our energy security and thereby our national security. More can be accomplished by allowing greater access to oil and gas resources on federal lands and offshore. In addition, reforms are needed to the regulatory process that will streamline and expedite the permitting process for energy projects such as LNG export terminals and the Government should help facilitate long term contracts for US LNG. We object to any attempt to restrict horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing on private or public lands. Environment Regulatory overreach. Oppose overreaching, unrealistic, and unachievable standards and regulations for air, water, wastewater, and stormwater, specifically the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed expanded definition of “waters of the United States”. Labor Overtime rule. The Chamber supports the Department of Labor’s effort to p ​ romulgate a new overtime rule to create a more suitable update to the salary threshold. FEMA HURRICANE HARVEY RELIEF. The Chamber supports fully funding recovery projects and requests regulatory relief from federal agencies when appropriate. Communities need maximum flexibility with disaster funds to rebuilt to a more resilient standard and to mitigate future storm impacts. K- 1 2 E d u c a t i o n It is critical that FEMA and the Federal Government provide temporary housing for displaced people trying to rebuild their homes and businesses. Housing for the workforce we are relying on to rebuild is also in need. Funding. Regulation. Testing. Develop reasonable national standards for measuring student performance to assure competitiveness of our students both at the national and international level, reduce over-reliance on standardized testing, and allow states and local school districts flexibility in meeting those standards. Flood Insurance. The Chamber opposes the raising of rates and fees on flood insurance policies. We oppose the change of the definition of “grandfathered homes”. Those homes that have a Preferred Program policy in force prior to Zone changes should be allowed to stay in the Preferred Program. Do not move homes to the higher premium Standard Program which will affect home values and the ability for homeowners to pay their mortgages. 2018 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA