Today, we reflect on the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation and the freedoms we enjoy. We will never be able to repay the incredible debt we all owe to those who gave their lives, or to the loves ones they left behind. Each year, on Memorial Day, I …
Turner’s bill would waive residency requirement for U.S. military service members applying for commercial driver’s license
AUSTIN − State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101) announced today that the Texas House of Representatives has passed HB 860, a bill which would waive the residency requirement for service members applying for a commercial driver’s license. State Senator Wendy Davis has filed an identical bill, SB 229.
“This bill is an important step in bringing down the high unemployment rate that our veterans are facing right now,” said Turner. “What is an easy part of the application process for most, is extremely difficult if you are active duty or reserve, unexpectedly relocated to Texas, and need to get back to work as soon as possible. I’m proud to continue working with Senator Davis on such an important issue. This is small way we can continue to honor the service of these men and women.”
HB 860 is supported by Texas Veterans Coalition Organizations (TCVO) and the Texas Motor Transport Association (TMTA.)
AUSTIN − State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101 – Grand Prairie) and state Senator Leticia Van de Putte (SD 26 – San Antonio) have filed identical measures aimed at addressing concerns raised by some Texas universities regarding the expense of Hazlewood, the state’s veteran higher education financial aid program. The legislation would allow schools to use “B-On-Time” funds that are not utilized at the institution at which they are collected to offset that school’s Hazlewood and Hazlewood Legacy tuition exemption programs.
“Hazlewood represents a solemn promise from the state of Texas to our veterans and their families and our legislation is aimed at keeping that promise,” Turner said. “By allowing our state’s colleges and universities to utilize unused B-On-Time funds that are currently being transferred back to the state to instead offset Hazlewood costs, we will strengthen our veterans benefits and help our colleges and universities.”
“The first and foremost consideration is that we help the 1% who defend our freedoms and have earned their Hazlewood benefits,” Senator Van de Putte said. “It makes sense to give schools the flexibility to utilize monies already appropriated for their campuses before looking at additional state dollars. This bill will help our universities do the right thing for our veterans and their families.”
Bills would expand job opportunities, boost assistance fund and help surviving spouses
AUSTIN − State Representative Chris Turner (HD 101) has filed six measures to aid veterans, service members and their families. Turner’s veterans’ package covers several areas, addressing veteran unemployment, providing an additional funding source for the Permanent Fund for Veterans’ Assistance and exempting spouses of service members killed in the line of duty from paying property taxes on their home.
“Since my first term, I have been incredibly fortunate to work on initiatives to honor the service and sacrifice of our service members, veterans and their families,” said Turner. “With unacceptably high veteran unemployment rates, many of the bills I have filed this session focus on helping service members and veterans get good-paying jobs that capitalize on the skills they attained during their time in uniform.
“We must also never forget the spouses of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation,” continued Turner, “which is why I filed a measure to exempt the spouses of service members killed in the line of duty from paying property taxes on their homes, the same benefit we currently extend to 100 percent disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. It’s one small way that we can honor those who died defending our country and provide crucial economic help to their families.”
Chris has a proven record of leadership on veterans’ issues: he was the author of the bill that created the veterans scratch-off lottery ticket, which has raised more than $17 million for veterans’ assistance programs in just two years.
Chris also authored and passed legislation requiring Texas colleges and universities to have a designated financial aid officer for veterans, authored and passed a law that would allow state employees to continue to accrue sick and vacation time when they deployed for active duty military service and wrote a measure that would allow the spouses of soldiers killed in the line of duty or 100% disabled as a result of their service to be eligible for Hazlewood educational benefits. This was added to a larger piece of legislation, passed and signed into law.
As a result of this work, and other measures benefiting veterans and their families, Chris has been repeatedly recognized by leading veterans’ organizations.