The 83rd Texas Legislature will convene 8 January 2013, and 18 veteran related bills have been introduced. The 113th US Congress has been sworn in and committee assignments will follow. The following is my Government Affairs report and is for your information and distribution to your members. Please advise me if you have any questions.
John A Miterko
113th US Congress: any and all veteran related legislation considered but not passed during the now adjourned 112th Congress will have to begin the long political process of being re-introduced, sponsored, co-sponsored, brought before the Veterans Affairs Committees in both the House and Senate, assigned to a sub-committee, evaluated for funding based on significant National Defense Authorized budget reductions, placed in the queue for funding, and balanced against the mandatory budget reductions mandated by sequestration. Nothing will begin for at least one more month. During the interim, Committee Chairs will be appointed, Representatives and Senators will be assigned to committees, and legislation will be introduced beginning sometime in February. I will keep you posted regarding any veteran related legislation.
83rd Texas Legislature: the Texas Coalition of Veterans Organizations has 36 member Veteran Service Organizations as well as six supporting VSOs, and represents the legislative interests of over 600,000 veterans in Texas. The top priorities for TCVO are:
1. adjusting the dollar amount that may be exempted from the appraised value of the principal residence of a veteran disabled less than 100%. Senate Bill SB 540 directed the State Comptroller to evaluate the intent of the original legislation and to make recommendations for changing the dolalr amounts currently in effect. In May 2012, Susan B Coombs, State Comptroller, issued a report that recommended that the four exemption amounts be tied to the average appraised value of property in Texas in the same amount and ratio when the original law took effect (12 years ago), and make adjustments to the exempted amount. TCVO has been working with the Author of SB 540, Senator Leticia Van de Putte (San Antonio) , Chair, Senate Veterans Affairs and Military Installations Committee, to introduce legislation effecting the proposed changes. The same legislation has been requested from the House Defense Affairs Committee chaired by Representative Joe Pickett (El Paso), and has support from Rep Chris Turner (Tarrant County near Ft Worth). No bills have been filed to date.
2. Service Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses being [laced in the category of "economically disadvantaged". Two bills supporting this legislation have been introduced: on the House side HB 194 by Rep Joe Farias (San Antonio), and Senate Bill SB 116 by Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (McAllen).
3. Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouses of 100% Disabled Veterans, as well as surviving spouses of Texas active duty military Killed In Action (see below for supporting legislation).
American Legion Post 290
Dripping Springs TX