Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Meets at the Capitol
AUSTIN - The Veteran Affairs and Military Installations committee held its organizational meeting Monday, November 22, 1999, at the State Capitol. Members of the committee include Senator Carlos F. Truan, of Corpus Christi, serving as chair, and Senators Troy Frasier of Horseshoe Bay, Steve Ogden of Bryan, Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso, and Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio. Senator Van de Putte was welcomed to the committee, as a new Senate member, by Senator Truan.
The committee began the hearing with a review of the interim charges issued by Lt. Governor Rick Perry. The first charge is for the committee to develop strategies to extend the operational usefulness of Texas military facilities and attract new military missions. The committees second charge is to assess the effectiveness of state benefits currently available to veterans and make recommendations to improve their delivery. Witnesses testified they would like to see an increase in tuition assistance for National Guard service people, big business development in areas near military installations--helping to boost local economies, and funding for the Texas Strategic Military Planning Commission.
Testimony was presented by James Nier, Executive Director for the Texas Veteran's Commission, Brigadier General Michael B. Smith, Assistant Adjutant General of the Texas Air National Guard, and Retired Lieutenant General Charles A. Hines, Ph.D., Chairman of the Texas Strategic Military Planning Commission.
The committee plans to hold more public hearings during the interim. The committee will submit its findings from these hearings in the form of a report to be presented to the 77th Legislature, which will convene in January of 2001.