Statement of Senator Leticia Van de Putte
Senator Leticia Van de Putte, Chair of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations, said the following regarding Attorney General Abbott's decision to withdraw two Hazlewood opinions:
"I applaud Attorney General Greg Abbott's decision yesterday to withdraw his opinions GA-0347 and GA-0445, relating to the citizenship eligibility requirements for honorably discharged veterans to use the Hazlewood tuition exemption.
"The Hazlewood exemption, state law since 1923, entitles certain Texas veterans, and the children of Texas service members who die during or directly due to their service in the armed forces, to free tuition and free or reduced fees for up to 150 credit hours at publicly supported colleges and universities.
"Because the eligibility guidelines of the Hazlewood exemption are confusing, and have been interpreted inconsistently, I have twice asked Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott for clarification. His opinions had the unfortunate result of denying deserving veterans this higher education opportunity.
"With these opinions withdrawn, Attorney General Abbott now acknowledges that denying these veterans the exemption is unconstitutional.
"In the 81st legislative session in 2009, I will introduce a bill to eliminate any ambiguity in the Hazlewood Act.
"We must honor and reward the sacrifices made by those Texans who fight on behalf of our freedom."