SAN ANTONIO - The Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) is hosting Veterans Expo and Clinics in San Antonio on Saturday, May 18, at the Crowne Plaza Riverwalk Hotel, 111 East Pecan Street.
During this all-day event, attendees will have the opportunity to attend specific, Veteran-focused seminars and clinics and learn about programs and benefits available to Veterans in Texas.
The event will kick off at 8:00 a.m. with a "Beating the VA Backlog" Clinic where Texas Veterans, family members and survivors can get one-on-one guidance with their pending disability claims from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). TVC holds backlog events in order to serve Veterans through the State Strike Force Teams, which were created by Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, and House Speaker Joe Straus in July 2012. The teams' mission is to help reduce the backlog of disability claims in Texas since the number of backlogged claims has more than doubled since 2010 and the wait times for Veterans are continuing to increase.
At 9:00 a.m., the Veteran Entrepreneur Seminar will begin, and participants will receive information regarding business plan development, financial guidance, management and marketing assistance through mentorship and franchising opportunities. Participating organizations will include the Texas Veterans Commission, Small Business Administration (SBA), Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) of San Antonio, PeopleFund, Strategies of Small Businesses, Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and Veteran Franchise Centers.
At noon, the Women Veterans Seminar will begin, and attendees will receive current information on healthcare, housing assistance, and other benefits unique to women Veterans in Texas.
Also at noon, the Expo will open and will feature over 100 state, local, and federal agencies, Veterans organizations, nonprofits, colleges, and companies that provide Veteran-specific services for Veterans and their families. Participants include the Veteran Land Board (VLB), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), USAA, VFW, TexVet, U.S. Department of Defense, and more.
During the Expo, there will also be an Employment Clinic and an Education Clinic. The Employment Clinic will include a full range of employment services including one-on-one assistance with job applications, resume preparation, job matching and searches. Veteran Employment Representatives (VERs) will be available to provide job coaching and pathways to overcome employment barriers. During the Education Clinic, Veterans and their family members can talk to a program specialist about the education benefits available to them, including the GI Bill, Hazlewood, and On-the-Job Training.
"TVC is proud to administer these initiatives to keep Texas Veterans informed of available resources and benefits that help improve the quality of their lives," said Thomas Palladino, Executive Director of TVC. "These clinics and seminars will provide up-to-date resources so that Texas Veterans will have the tools they need to achieve their goals."
The Veterans Expo and Clinic in San Antonio is free of charge and open to all Veterans, active duty personnel, and their family members. Space is limited for these events and registration is strongly encouraged:http://www.tvc.texas.gov/tvc/Veterans-Expo.aspx.
These seminars and clinics are open to all Veterans, their families, and survivors of all services and are free of charge.
83rd Legislature discusses ways to improve Veteran benefits & services in Texas
The 83rd Texas Legislature convened on Tuesday, January 8, 2013. In the past three and a half months, state lawmakers have worked to craft a $195.5 billion two-year budget proposal and have filed over 6,000 individual bills to create or amend state laws.
Of those bills filed, 190 pieces of legislation directly impact the military/Veteran community within Texas on a number of issues ranging from property tax exemptions for disabled Veterans and surviving spouses to establishing a Veterans' mental health program.
One bill that has just passed the Senate floor and is headed to the House of Representatives relates to Veteran Entrepreneurship. Currently, Veterans own 9.2% of all private companies in the state and provide work for nearly 500,000 employees, with estimated annual receipts totaling more than $99 billion. Senate Bill 1476, by Sen. Royce West, would establish the Veteran Entrepreneur Program within the Texas Veterans Commission. By identifying and connecting aspiring Veteran entrepreneurs with funding sources, business plan development, mentors, and business opportunities, this program will create a network of Veteran entrepreneurs throughout the state who will add value to the communities where they are established by generating a robust, sustainable tax base and creating employment opportunities for other Veterans.
Another bill deals with the relatively low percentage of Veterans employed by state agencies. Senate Bill 10 by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and its House companion, House Bill 3545 by Rep. Jose Menendez, would strengthen the state's Veteran hiring preference laws by allowing the direct hire of Veterans by state agencies through the Texas Workforce Commission's WorkinTexas system. The bill also requires at least 20 percent of a state agency's interview pool be Veterans and require agencies with more than 500 employees to have a designated Veteran liaison. SB 10 has passed the Senate and is now being considered by the House of Representatives.
Sen. Van de Putte also worked with Rep. Menendez to author Senate Bill 1158 and its House companion, House Bill 3544, which would create a network of Veteran resource counselors who would work with both Veteran students and their families in order to maximize their educational opportunities and benefits. The bill would also establish a state award recognizing universities and colleges for Veteran education excellence.
The same lawmakers also paired to improve access to health and mental health treatment and peer-to-peer support programs for Veterans. Senate Bill 898 and its companion, HB 2392, would establish a new subchapter in the Health and Safety Code for the provision of the Mental Health Program for Veterans within the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and allow for grants to regional and local organizations providing mental health and other services.
Another set of bills would affect the TVC Fund for Veterans' Assistance (FVA), which provides grants to local government and nonprofit organizations in an effort to enhance or improve Veterans' assistance programs that address the needs of Veterans and their families. House Bill 633, by Representative Joe Farias, and its Senate companion, Senate Bill 557, by Senator Wendy Davis would provide an opportunity for persons applying for a Texas drivers license or identification certificate to voluntarily contribute to FVA.
Now, over halfway through the session, legislators are working to get their proposals through the necessary process in order to be voted out of both chambers of the Legislature and ready for Governor Rick Perry's signature in June, when he will sign into law legislation passed during this biennial legislative session.
For more information on these bills and other legislation that may affect Veterans, please contact Jeff Williford, TVC Legislative Liaison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TVC wants you to stay informed! Follow these links to find up-to-date information about Veterans in Texas.
Conceal and Carry
SB 164, a bill about the issuance of specially marked licenses to carry concealed handguns passed the Senate on April 18 and is now up for House review. Find more here.(Twitter)
Plumbing Licenses in exchange for Military Service
The House Defense and Veterans' Affairs Committee (DVA) heard testimony on HB 2028, relating to eligibility requirements for plumbing licenses for applicants with military service. Read the bill here.(Twitter)
Increase in Mental Health Services
The Texas House passed HB 2392 by Representative Menendez to increase mental health resources available to Texas Veterans. Read the bill here.(Twitter)
Lawmakers break ground on Vietnam Veterans Monument
The Texas Veterans Commission is a state agency committed to ensuring all Veterans within the state of Texas receive the maximum benefits earned as a result of their service to their country. We provide superior service to Veterans in the areas of claims assistance, employment services, education benefits and reimbursement grants that significantly improve the quality of life of Texas Veterans and their families.