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3 Document(s) [ Subject: ]

Committee: Senate Veteran Affairs and Military Installations
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Alternatives to incarceration | County government | Courts | Hazlewood Act | Mental health services | Military and veterans benefits | Military bases | State agencies | Suicide | Veterans | Veterans educational benefits | Veterans' health care |
Library Call Number: L1836.84 V641
Session: 84th R.S. (2015)
Online version: View report [59 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
Committee: Senate Veteran Affairs and Military Installations
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Courts | Hazlewood Act | Mental health services | Military and veterans benefits | Military bases | Texas Coordinating Council for Veterans Services | Texas Military Preparedness Commission | Texas National Guard | Texas State Guard | Veterans | Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of | Veterans Commission, Texas | Veterans educational benefits | Veterans homes | Veterans' employment | Veterans' health care |
Library Call Number: L1836.82 V641
Session: 82nd R.S. (2011)
Online version: View report [40 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Study the employment rate of Texas veterans, and consider ways to better coordinate federal, state, local and private resources to enhance employment services. Examine the transfer of Veteran Employment Services (VES) from the Texas Workforce Commission to the Texas Veterans Commission, and include an assessment of the impact on Texas veterans and their families. Make recommendations for improving services and possible expansion of services to potential additional returning veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
2. Review the benefits claims process for filing with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs through the Texas Veterans Commission's Claims Representation and Counseling program and make recommendations to improve the quality of life for veterans and their families. Coordinate with the Senate Finance Committee to identify and maximize funding options, reduce claims backlogs, and increase the benefits received by Texas veterans.
3. Examine methods to support veteran participation in higher education. Examine the use of the Hazlewood Act by Texas veterans, and include recommendations to maximize programs to effectively serve veterans and their families. Determine the efficacy of establishing Veteran Resource Centers at institutions of higher education to assist in student veteran academic achievement, provide additional funding for institutions from increased Montgomery GI Bill revenue, and better integrate veterans on college campuses.
4. Evaluate the status of mental health services for veterans and Texas Military Forces. Include an assessment of peer counseling programs, "aftercare" provided for units within their local communities following a trauma within the group, and efforts to address the secondary mental health and substance abuse issues caused by post traumatic stress disorders and other combat-related disorders.
5. Consider establishing a "Commander's Council" in conjunction with the Office of the Governor's Texas Military Preparedness Commission, to allow commanders of Texas' military forces and installations to better coordinate and communicate with the Texas Legislature and state leadership. Develop a comprehensive communication plan with Texas military installations, and recommend any legislative initiatives necessary to support the installations, active-duty service members and their families on and around the installations, and the partnerships between the defense community and the community within which the military installations reside.
6. Study the appropriate role of Texas state military forces in enhancing the safety of all Texans, and make recommendations for improving the coordination, accountability, and effectiveness of all components of our state military forces, including the national, state, and air guards. Identify limitations on the forces providing border security and other operations, and make recommendations for better coordination with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. (Joint Charge with the Transportation & Homeland Security Committee)
7. Study the use and impact of Veterans Courts throughout Texas. Make recommendations relating to potential funding sources, staffing requirements, additional direct services not provided by the Veterans Administration, and possible expansion.
8. Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs & Military Installations, 82nd Legislature, Regular and Called Sessions, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor the following:
  • the "College Credit for Heroes" program as administered by the Texas Workforce Commission;
  • the administration of the Veterans Housing Assistance Program by the Texas Veterans Commission's Fund for Veterans' Assistance; and
  • the Texas Coordinating Council for Veterans Services, authorized by SB 1796, 82nd Regular Legislation Session.
Committee: Senate Veteran Affairs and Military Installations
Title: Interim Report
Library Catalog Title: The Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs & Military Installations report and recommendations to the 82nd Texas Legislature.
Subjects: Base realignment and closure | Call centers | Employment | Job training programs | Mental health services | Military bases | Military personnel | Texas State Guard | Veterans | Veterans educational benefits | Women |
Library Call Number: L1836.81 V641
Session: 81st R.S. (2009)
Online version: View report [151 pages  File size: 16,493 kb]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Study veteran employment and veteran-owned small business issues, including the usefulness of creating a veteran-specific employment database to target job openings tailored to the skill sets of Texas' returning veterans. Include an assessment and recommendations to best implement the veteran employment database.
2. Examine the potential risk factors for returning service members, which may contribute to an increase in domestic violence and child abuse cases. Additionally, determine best practices, including funding options, to ensure that specific counseling related to these risk factors is available to and provided for returning service members and their family members during the initial reunion phase.
3. Examine the use of the new GI Bill by veterans and their families in conjunction with the changes made to the Hazlewood Act during the 81 st Legislature, Regular Session, as the number of service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan continues to rise. Include an assessment and recommendations on how the programs can be maximized to better serve veterans and their families.
4. Study the specific needs of female veterans and service members and whether they are met. Make recommendations for improving services.
5. Study the value of enhancing training requirements for Veterans County Service Officers (VCSO) to improve veterans service at the local level, especially in rural areas. Make recommendations on how to best use technology for training purposes and expanding accreditation of VCSO.
6. Study the advantages of centralizing call center activities for referral to benefits providers (e.g., TVC, TVLB, VA, DSHS, Suicide Prevention Call Centers, etc.), including the costs associated with maintaining multiple call centers, the potential savings of consolidating reporting systems, and any options for obtaining federal funds. Make suggestions to streamline the process for veterans to obtain resources and benefits.
7. Inventory and assess veteran workforce programs offered by state agencies (i.e., TVC, TWC, TAG), and include the usefulness of creating a veteran-specific employment database, which would target job openings tailored to the skill set of Texas' returning veterans as well as job training for spouses. Make recommendations to allow agencies to work more effectively and for efficient implementation of a veteran employment database.
8. Consider the mission of the State Guard and the numbers of volunteers within the State Guard. Make recommendations to incentivize recruitment and retention of volunteers to the State Guard.
9. Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs & Military Installations, 81st Legislature, Regular and Called Sessions, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically, review the following:
  • Monitor implementation of constitutional amendments relating to veterans issues;
  • Monitor the implementation of $5 million for mental health services programs for veterans, the military and their dependents, following the Ft. Hood tragedy;
  • Monitor and analyze the closure process for the following installations and communicate with district Senators and communities: Naval Station Ingleside; Brooks City-Base, San Antonio; and Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant.
  • Monitor and analyze the realignment of the various installations across the state, including but not limited to, Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Fort Bliss in El Paso, and Red River Army Depot in Texarkana.

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