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4 Document(s) [ Subject: ]

Committee: House Defense and Veterans' Affairs
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Base realignment and closure | Federal funds | Hazlewood Act | Military and veterans benefits | Military bases | Real estate agents | Student aid | Veterans |
Library Call Number: L1836.84 D361
Session: 84th R.S. (2015)
Online version: View report [122 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Explore how encroachment (environmental, technological, and architectural) impacts the vital missions of our military bases in Texas and which policies can be put into place while retaining respect for private property rights, economic growth, and the operation of military facilities.
2. Explore adding notifications to the Texas Real Estate Commission Seller Disclosure Form, as well as a notification to buyers of new home construction, in order to inform buyers that a property may be located near a military installation or a military airport and could be affected by high noise or its air installation compatible use zones, or other operations.
3. Study the long-term viability of the Hazlewood Act, in particular the legacy tuition exemption provision. Review eligibility requirements and recommend changes to ensure that the program can remain solvent. Examine the costs of the program to institutions of higher education, including foregone tuition, additional infrastructure, administrative and instructional support costs, and the financial impact on nonveteran/legacy students. Analyze and report any effect changes to this program would have for veterans and their families. Review current data systems related to this exemption and recommend improvements to ensure quality and accuracy of information. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Higher Education)
4. Assess ways the State of Texas can further aid our federal military installations and their communities in order to minimize the negative consequences of a potential forthcoming BRAC round by the federal government.
5. Assess the continuing effect and the impact of sequestration and federal defense spending on Texas military bases, soldiers and their families, base communities, and Texas defense contractors. Identify solutions to address issues raised by federal policy.
6. Analyze whether unnecessary, redundant or punitive barriers exist for Texas Veterans pursuing educational or occupational careers upon completion of their military service. Study and ensure that appropriate measures are in place to allow veterans to receive the maximum college credit benefit for their service-related training in the armed forces.
7. Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 84th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee should: a. consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens; b. identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate; c. determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner; and d. identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs.
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: 211 telephone system | Base realignment and closure | Disabled veterans | Federal budgets | Mental health services | Military and veterans benefits | Military bases | Military spending | Occupational licenses | Student aid | Veterans | Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of | Veterans Commission, Texas | Veterans' employment | Veterans' health care |
Library Call Number: L1836.83 V641
Session: 83rd R.S. (2013)
Online version: View report [38 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Investigate the impact of federal actions (including the federal government shutdown, sequestration, military force reductions, and potential base closure or realignment) on active-­duty service members, the Texas Military Department, veterans, their families, defense-­related contractors, small businesses, local governments, and state agencies.
2. Monitor and examine efforts to provide employment and workforce opportunities for veterans, service members, and their families. Make recommendations on how best to continue collaborating with and supporting our honored veterans as they re-­enter the civilian workforce, including improving employment opportunities for veterans at all state agencies.
3. Provide an update on the State Strike Force teams’ progress and recommendations on any additional steps necessary to ensure that veterans promptly receive all federal disability benefits to which they are entitled.
4. Study and make recommendations to improve access to services provided by non-­profit organizations to veterans, their families, and survivors, including examining the effectiveness, standards, and consistency of the 2-­1-­1 information and referral system for military and veteran families statewide.
5. Monitor the implementation of the veterans occupational licensure bills passed during the 83rd Legislative Session to expedite the licensure process for those who are serving, have served, or are married to someone serving our nation in uniform. Study and make recommendations to strengthen and improve state efforts to ease the transition of military veterans and their spouses into the Texas civilian workforce.
6. Monitor implementation of the veteran's mental health legislation passed during the 83rd Legislative Session, including funding to support the Military Veteran Peer Network at Department of State Health Services. Assess whether state mental health initiatives targeted to veterans and their families appropriately address Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Study and make recommendations to enhance the delivery of mental health services to veterans at the local level through the network of Veteran County Service Officers.
7. In addition to the formal Interim Charges, the VAMI Committee reviewed allegations that the VA has denied health and mental health care and manipulated waiting lists to access care. The Committee also considered whether or not the state has a role in assisting veterans in Texas with VA health care as it did with the Strike Force Teams for VA disability claims.
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.

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