From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
March 1, 1999
Contact: William A. Scott - (512) 463-0124

Fraser Military, Veterans Bills Win Support of Senate Committee

AUSTIN -- A Senate committee today approved five, military and veterans related bills authored by Senator Troy Fraser, including measures designed to attract more defense industry to Texas and assess the conditions of strategic deployment routes.

Fraser, a member of the Committee on Veterans Affairs and Military Installations that approved the legislation, said he was pleased with the panel's passage of the bills, and looks forward to their consideration by the full Senate.

Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, provided the following summary of the bills:

Senate Bill 606: Directs the Texas Department of Transportation to conduct a study of strategic deployment routes and other highways critical to the movement of troops and equipment.

"The issue of improving deployment routes is important, and by addressing it now, Texas will be in a stronger position to defend against potential future base closures," Fraser said.

Under the bill, TxDOT is required to assess the condition of the routes and identify those that require further construction, maintenance or expansion, and provide a cost estimate for the improvements. The bill requires TxDOT to issue its report to the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House no later than January 31, 2000.

Senate Bill 607: Directs the Office of Defense Affairs, a component of the Texas Department of Economic Development, to develop and maintain a database of all prime contractors and subcontractors operating in Texas.

"It's important to know who is operating in the state if we want to attract opportunities in the future," Fraser said. "We're talking about an industry that has an annual, direct economic impact on Texas of $15.6 billion. It's a very important sector of our economy and directly tied to technology and technology growth."

Senate Bill 640: Requires state office buildings to display the POW/MIA flag on six holidays annually. The flag must be flown on Armed Services Day, the third Saturday in May; Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day; Veterans Day, and National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the third Friday in September.

Senate Bill 641: Changes the previous state designation of "Korean Conflict" to "Korean War," and authorizes special license plates for Korean War veterans.

"Many people still refer to our action in Korea as a conflict, but it was a war, plain and simple," Fraser said. "This is just one small way to show Korean War veterans that we respect them and that we, as a state, are grateful for the sacrifices they made to protect our freedom."

An estimated 289,000 Texans served in the Korean War, and 1,723 Texans are officially listed as killed or missing in action.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 34: Honors the Texas Lone Star Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Organization for its continuing public education efforts regarding the Korean War.

Another military-related bill, which would exempt active duty personnel who are not on a college degree program from the Texas Academic Skills Program testing, is pending in the Senate Education Committee.