83R1391 MCK-D
  By: Alonzo H.B. No. 171
  relating to the establishment of veterans resource centers at
  certain institutions of higher education.
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 434, Government Code, is amended by
  adding Subchapter E to read as follows:
         Sec. 434.201.  DEFINITIONS.  In this subchapter:
               (1)  "Commission" means the Texas Veterans Commission.
               (2)  "Education regions" means the higher education
  regions in this state established by the Texas Higher Education
  Coordinating Board.
               (3)  "Institution of higher education" has the meaning
  assigned by Section 61.003, Education Code.
         Sec. 434.202.  VETERANS RESOURCE CENTERS. The commission
  shall administer a veterans resource center in at least one
  institution of higher education in each region specified in Section
  434.203 to:
               (1)  provide a centralized place for veterans to find
  assistance and information while enrolled at an institution of
  higher education;
               (2)  deliver innovative, cost-effective programs to
  attract veterans and family members of veterans to attend public
  institutions of higher education;
               (3)  enable institutions of higher education to create
  veteran-friendly environments;
               (4)  encourage veterans to take advantage of government
  educational programs; and
               (5)  assist veterans in applying to public institutions
  of higher education.
         Sec. 434.203.  LOCATIONS OF CENTERS. The commission shall
  operate 15 veterans resource centers throughout this state with at
  least one veterans resource center located in each of the following
  higher education regions:
               (1)  High Plains Region;
               (2)  Northwest Texas Region;
               (3)  Metroplex Region;
               (4)  Upper East Texas Region;
               (5)  Southeast Texas Region;
               (6)  Gulf Coast Region;
               (7)  Central Texas Region;
               (8)  South Texas Region;
               (9)  West Texas Region; and
               (10)  Upper Rio Grande Region.
  Each institution of higher education that has a veterans resource
  center shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the
  commission.  The memorandum of understanding must require the
  institution of higher education to provide and bear the cost of the
               (1)  office space on the campus of the institution of
  higher education that is accessible to persons with disabilities
  and complies with any applicable federal and state law; and
               (2)  office equipment, telephone equipment and
  service, computer equipment, and Internet access.
         Sec. 434.205.  PROGRAM MANAGER. The commission shall employ
  a program manager to administer the veterans resource center
  program. The program manager shall:
               (1)  provide leadership, training, support, and
  overall management of the veterans resource center program;
               (2)  evaluate the effectiveness of veterans resource
  centers in identifying the services required by veterans to
  optimize the success of veterans and their families in obtaining a
  college education and in providing those services;
               (3)  supervise the regional veterans resource
               (4)  prepare an annual budget;
               (5)  monitor the outcomes of the veterans resource
  center program;
               (6)  using data provided by the Texas Higher Education
  Coordinating Board, produce an annual report on veterans' 
  attendance at public institutions of higher education;
               (7)  apply to private organizations and foundations for
  grant funding or other support that complements the objectives of
  the program; and
               (8)  perform any other task required by the commission.
  The commission shall employ a regional veterans resource counselor
  for each higher education region to oversee the veterans resource
  center or centers located in the region.
         (b)  A regional veterans resource counselor shall maintain
  an office at a veterans resource center at an institution of higher
  education located in the higher education region served by the
  veterans resource counselor.
         (c)  Each regional veterans resource counselor shall:
               (1)  visit the institutions of higher education located
  in the higher education region served by the veterans resource
               (2)  work with those institutions of higher education
                     (A)  create a hospitable and supportive
  environment for veterans;
                     (B)  enhance awareness of and encourage
  participation in veterans educational programs and in commission
  programs providing other services to veterans, including
  employment and claims assistance services;
                     (C)  develop programs providing ancillary
  assistance to veterans based on the unique needs of veterans and
  their families;
                     (D)  ensure that veterans successfully complete
  their education; and
                     (E)  promote the establishment of a student
  veterans group on each campus in the region;
               (3)  work with local, state, and national veterans
  groups, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American
  Legion, to promote educational opportunities and benefits to the
  veteran population in the higher education region;
               (4)  work with local workforce development boards to:
                     (A)  ensure that veterans counselors are aware of
  available nontraditional educational opportunities, including
  on-the-job training programs and apprenticeships; and
                     (B)  advise employers in the region of potential
  opportunities to create on-the-job training programs for veterans;
               (5)  work with education services officers at military
  installations to encourage active duty members of the armed forces
  of the United States and veterans to use federal and state
  educational benefits;
               (6)  create and manage publicity campaigns in concert
  with the commission and institutions of higher education in the
  higher education region to promote the use of education benefits
  under the federal Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of
  2008 (38 U.S.C. Section 3301 et seq.), the tuition exemption
  program for veterans and their dependents under Section 54.341,
  Education Code, and any other education benefit for veterans or
  their dependents under federal or state law;
               (7)  support programs to assist combat veteran students
  in readjusting and reintegrating into a noncombat environment;
               (8)  maintain statistical information regarding
  demographics of veterans assisted, application success, program
  completion rates, drop-out rates, and reasons for success or
  failure, as appropriate; and
               (9)  perform other activities, as assigned by the
  commission, to enhance the educational opportunities of veterans
  and their family members in the higher education region and
  throughout this state.
         Sec. 434.207.  RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.  The commission may
  adopt rules to implement this subchapter.
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2013.