Gov. Perry Speaks at American Legion Texas Annual State Convention
Gov. Rick Perry today highlighted legislation signed into law this session to assist veterans and their families, and discussed the state's efforts to help clear the backlog of Texas-based disability claims made through the Veteran's Administration (VA). The governor spoke at the American Legion Department of Texas Annual State Convention.
"Legionnaires represent the enduring American mission to promote Americans' security and spread freedom around the world," Gov. Perry said. "Legionnaires also understand the difficulties a veteran can face upon returning home. As part of our proud military tradition, Texas is dedicated to making that transition as easy as possible, and to repaying the debt we owe every returning hero."
This session, Gov. Perry called on lawmakers to pass legislation ensuring Texas veterans and their families have access to the resources and support they deserve. The governor was proud to sign into law several measures assisting Texas veterans this year, including:
Senate Bill 163, authored by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and sponsored by Rep. Chris Turner, which grants a total property tax exemption to the surviving spouse of a member of the military killed in action.
Senate Bill 1476, authored by Sen. Royce West and sponsored by Rep. Ralph Sheffield, which lays the foundation for creation of a veteran entrepreneur program to help veterans better understand the resources and services available from federal and state agencies by providing seminars, conferences and workshops.
House Bill 97, authored by Rep. Charles Perry and sponsored by Sen. Van de Putte, which grants a partial property tax exemption to veterans who are partially disabled and have had a home donated to them by a charitable organization.
House Bill 1514, authored by Rep. Donna Howard and sponsored by Sen. Donna Campbell, which provides World War II veterans with license plates that allow them to receive privileged parking benefits, including using most parking meters free of charge and better access to handicap parking spaces.
Under Gov. Perry's leadership, Texas has also increased efforts to reduce the backlog of Texas-based disability claims made through the VA. Funding has increased to $4 million for the FY 2014-15 biennium for State Strike Force Teams and "Fully Developed Claims" teams. These teams were created by the Texas Veterans Commission last year to assist veterans and their families with navigating the VA claims backlog. Since their creation, the State Strike Force Teams have reviewed almost 19,000 cases, and returned more than 5,000 cases to the VA ready for approval. Additionally, the Fully Developed Claims Teams have submitted more than 6,600 new claims, which the VA has pledged to complete within 90 days.
Governor's Initiatives »