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Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Border Security - 85th R.S. (2017)

Committee Members
Donna Campbell, Chair
Don Huffines, Vice Chair
Dawn Buckingham
Bob Hall
Eddie Lucio
José Rodríguez
Carlos Uresti
Charges
• Border Security - Law Enforcement: Study and make recommendations on opportunities to create public safety partnerships. Consider the federal 287(g) program and any needs of a state or local jurisdiction when entering in a Memorandum of Agreement for receiving delegated federal authority. Review cross training programs offered in other states that allow U.S. Border Patrol agents to be certified as state peace officers, and determine if Texas could create such a program.
• Border - Invasive Species: Study and make recommendations on the impact to border security caused by invasive plant species, such as carrizo cane and salt cedar. Review proposals for eradication of invasive plant species that provide a natural shelter for human trafficking and/or smuggling arms and illicit substances.
• Veterans Health: Study the effectiveness of veterans' health and mental health initiatives in Texas and recommend ways to improve access and delivery. Explore the state of the federal VA Choice Program, including potential expiration, continuation, or expansion of the program. Consider the impact of the VA Choice Program on improving the delivery of health care, and determine ways to raise awareness and increase participation among Texas veterans. Consider the potential connection between chronic pain and mental health and identify strategies to improve the prevention of veteran suicide.
• State-Delivered Federal Services: Review the veteran services offered by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs and Veteran Benefits Administration. Study those services which are being delivered by the Texas Veterans Commission, including but not limited to the state strike force teams and health care advocacy program. Consider ways to increase utilization of automated services, such as the Texas Veterans App, to reduce the need for additional staff time and to create a resource for veterans to access services at all times of the day.
• Military Installation: Identify opportunities to promote the strategic importance of military installations in Texas. Study the impact of the Aviation, Aerospace & Defense manufacturing industry on the economic vitality of military installations and communities. Identify potential strategic partnerships between this industry and military communities which would enhance key strategic assets.
• Military Youth Readiness: Evaluate the current readiness and fitness of Texas youth for entering military service over the next 5-10 years. Identify any additional economic impact to the state should youth not meet physical requirements or required academic performance.
• Monitoring: Monitor the implementation and impact of legislation passed by the Texas Legislature. Make recommendations for any needed improvements or steps to ensure completion.
SB 27 by Campbell 85(R), relating to the mental health progra m for veterans;
SB 277 by Campbell 85(R), relating to ad valorem tax incentives for wind-powered energy devices near military aviation facilities; and
SB 389 by Rodriguez 84(R, relating to the addition of military occupational specialty codes on state agency employment listings.

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