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Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations - 84th R.S. (2015)

Committee Members
Donna Campbell, Chair
Konni Burton, Vice Chair
Brian Birdwell
Sylvia Garcia
Bob Hall
Eddie Lucio
José Rodríguez
Charges
• Strike Force, VA Health, Mental Health: Study the state of veteran health and mental health in Texas. Review the progress made by state strike force teams to reduce the claims backlog and decrease wait times at VA hospitals. Evaluate if the passage of the federal Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 and other state initiatives have improved access and outcomes. Determine if state strike force teams should continue as established and make recommendations on necessary changes.
• State Veteran Employment: Study current veteran hiring policies among state agencies and consider the effectiveness of a percentage-based system. Make recommendations if there are other ways to equitably measure the success of veteran employment within an agency.
• Veteran Benefits: Given pending litigation on the subject, study what veteran benefits, if any, are currently only offered to residents of the state of Texas-whether by being born here or by entering the service in Texas--and assess whether any of these additional benefits leave the state liable for lawsuits under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Make recommendations for legislation that could reduce the state's liability.
• Veterans Courts: Study successes and challenges of veteran’s courts in Texas, including evidence of rehabilitation or recidivism. Consider alternative means of funding, such as voluntary donations at points of contact with state services, and make recommendations.
• Defense Adjustment Authorities, Compatibility Use, and Encroachment: Consider best practices for improving the military value at military installations in Texas. Determine cost-effective policies and make recommendations that would strengthen military value.
• Monitoring Charge: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations during the 84th Legislature, Regular Session and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor the following: 1) Monitor the implementation of legislation relating to the qualifications of veteran county service officers, and make recommendations if further changes should be made.
• Conduct a joint study on the nomination and selection process for the award of the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor. The study must evaluate:
(1) the military tradition for a medal of honor and methods to ensure that the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor upholds that military tradition;
(2) how a service member is nominated and methods to ensure that the service member is nominated based only on the merit of the service performed by the service member; and
(3) a process by which the adjutant general may
evaluate the qualifications of nominees for the Texas Legislative
Medal of Honor.

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