Senator West introduces bill creating statewide veteran's re-integration counseling program
AUSTIN -- Senate Bill 1058 by State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) will be heard in the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday, April 4th.
Senate Bill 1058 creates a statewide re-integration counseling program for service members returning to Texas from combat duties by providing a safety-net counseling system for veterans and their immediate family members. Many veterans struggle with reintegration and their return to family and work life as they battle domestic and substance abuse issues, high divorce rates and symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"The strength of Texas and the United States is dependent upon the strength of our soldiers and the families of our soldiers who engage the Global War on Terror. It is our responsibility to honor the commitment of our military service members by providing the tools necessary to fully return to their families and workplaces after discharge from active duty," Senator West said.
SB 1058 will incorporate the Texas 2-1-1 Information and Referral Network service (TexVet) to provide an accurate and up-to-date inventory of resources, tools and counseling programs available for service members and their immediate families.
TexVet is federally-funded through the Veterans Administration (VA) for the next two years, and will serve as a vital piece of the communications structure of the veterans re-integration program," said Senator West. "Our initiative will create a merger of the federal and state response to the need of a re-integration program in Texas,"
Of the 244,054 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan already discharged from service, 12,422 have been treated through VA counseling centers for readjustment problems and symptoms associated with PTSD. A 2004 Army study found 16.6 percent of those returning from combat tested positive for the disorder.
"It is our duty as a legislative body to protect those who protect us. Helping our military families survive the aftermath of war is the least we can do for our Texas patriots," West said.
Senator West will hold a Joint Press Conference with Senator Shapleigh (D -El Paso) and Van de Putte (D- San Antonio) on Wednesday, April 4, 2007 at 9:45 am in the Lt. Governor 's Press Conference Room, 2E.9.
For more information, please contact Kelvin Bass or Daniel Clayton at 512.463.0123.