IRVING – Today State Representative Chris Turner was presented with the Texas Veterans Commission’s Leadership Award in appreciation for his efforts in passing the measure to create a lottery game to benefit Texas veterans. Turner was given the award after speaking to over 500 people attending the Texas Veterans Commission annual statewide training conference in Irving.
Texas Veterans’ Commission Executive Director James E. Nier presented Turner with the award, which reads: “His leadership on veterans’ issues has inspired the respect of the entire veterans’ community… his capable, diligent and continued leadership in the Texas House has enhanced the lives of Texas veterans and their families.”
“I am honored and humbled by this recognition, ” Turner said. “The passage of the veterans lottery bill was a testament to the hard work of every veteran organization in the state, and I am just happy I could be part of this important effort that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of many veterans across Texas.”
Eventually amended to Senate Bill 1655, Turner’s House Bill 1299 created a single scratch off lottery ticket to benefit the Permanent Fund for Veterans’ Assistance (FVA). The FVA will provide grants to aid veterans and their families in times of financial need and support PTSD counseling and other veterans’ services. The lottery ticket will be released on November 9 and the expected revenue will be over $8 million per year. This one was on the top priorities for veterans’ organizations in Texas.
Turner, who was named “Freshman of the Year” by the bipartisan House Veterans Caucus, also passed legislation requiring institutions of higher education to designate a financial aid specialist to be trained on issues related to veterans’ programs, including the GI Bill and the Hazelwood Act. He was also the House sponsor of legislation allowing state employees who are members of military reserves or National Guard to continue to accrue their sick and vacation leave time while they are on active military duty.