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House Committee on Defense and Veterans' Affairs - 83rd R.S. (2013)

Committee Members
José Menéndez, Chair
Ralph Sheffield, Vice Chair
Nicole Collier
Joe Farias
James Frank
Rick Miller
Joe Moody
Matt Schaefer
Bill Zedler
  • Review the effectiveness and responsibilities of the Texas Military Preparedness Commission (TMPC). Examine the resources available to the TMPC to ensure the council has the organizational structure in place to protect base installations in Texas during future Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) rounds. Monitor the actions of the newly created BRAC task force, SB 1200 83rd R.S., and review methodologies to enhance relationships between military installations and state and local government to positively impact decisions of BRAC, or similar proposals from the U.S. Department of Defense that could result in a reduced military presence in Texas. Seek opportunities to enhance or expand current military missions in Texas and identify, when possible, new missions that would complement or support existing ones.
  • Study methods to assure returning veterans have access to necessary transition assistance and access to job training, education, and sustainable employment, including monitoring federal actions and coordinating state and private programs. Specifically, explore options for alternative certification programs that give returning military service men and women credit for skills learned and time served while on active duty. Track related legislation passed during the 83rd Legislature.
  • Examine the recommendations contained in the report by the Texas Coordinating Council for Veterans Services (TCCVS), study whether these recommendations have been implemented, and examine new methods to help homeless Veterans using state, regional, and local resources. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Urban Affairs)
  • Study the implementation of SB 462 83rd R.S.. Examine which counties currently have veterans courts, as well as veterans courts in other states, and determine how those programs are working and whether these courts provide additional services or resources for veterans. Make appropriate recommendations. (Joint charge with the House Committee on County Affairs)
  • Evaluate current resources at higher education institutions, state agencies, and community-based organizations that provide support for military veteran students. Review the current process for assessing and placing these students in appropriate course work so that they are successful. Determine if new funding sources are needed at community colleges to educate or train military veterans who might need Developmental Education or Adult Basic Education (ABE). Recommend strategies for effectively supporting military veteran students in their academic and workforce goals.
  • Monitor the implementation of HB 2392 83rd R.S., Peer-to-Peer Mental Health Program, administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, particularly the interface with local mental health authorities and veterans' groups, with a focus on issues related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • Study the implementation of all legislation from the 83rd Regular Session that seeks to develop a model to require state agencies regulating occupational licenses which require an apprenticeship to credit veterans' relevant military experience toward the apprenticeship requirements. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures)
  • Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 83rd 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.

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