By: Hinojosa S.C.R. No. 17
  WHEREAS, During the Vietnam War, the United States military
  sprayed millions of gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides
  over Vietnam to reduce forest cover and crops used by the enemy;
  these herbicides contained dioxin, which has since been identified
  as carcinogenic and has been linked with a number of serious and
  disabling illnesses now affecting thousands of veterans; and
         WHEREAS, Many American civilians were also exposed to dioxin
  through their employment in places such as stateside repair depots
  for military helicopters; in addition, Vietnamese Americans who
  immigrated in the 1970s and early 1980s may have suffered exposure
  in their native land; and
         WHEREAS, The United States Congress passed the Agent Orange
  Act of 1991 to address the plight of veterans exposed to herbicides
  while serving in the Republic of Vietnam; the Act amended Title 38
  of the United States Code to presumptively recognize as
  service-connected certain diseases among military personnel who
  served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1975; this presumption has
  provided access to appropriate disability compensation and medical
  care for Vietnam veterans diagnosed with such illnesses as Type II
  diabetes, Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic
  lymphocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma, prostate cancer,
  respiratory cancers, and soft-tissue sarcomas; and
         WHEREAS, Pursuant to a 2001 directive, United States
  Department of Veterans Affairs policy has denied the presumption of
  a service connection for herbicide-related illnesses to Vietnam
  veterans who cannot furnish written documentation that they had
  "boots on the ground" in-country, making it virtually impossible
  for countless United States Navy and United States Air Force
  veterans to pursue their claims for benefits; many who landed on
  Vietnamese soil cannot produce proof due to incomplete or missing
  military records; moreover, personnel who served on ships in the
  "Blue Water Navy" in Vietnamese territorial waters were, in fact,
  exposed to dangerous airborne toxins, which not only drifted
  offshore but also washed into streams and rivers draining into the
  South China Sea; and
         WHEREAS, Warships positioned off the Vietnamese shore
  routinely distilled seawater to obtain potable water; a 2002
  Australian study found that the distillation process, rather than
  removing toxins, in fact concentrated dioxin in water used for
  drinking, cooking, and washing; this study was conducted by the
  Australian Department of Veterans' Affairs after it found that
  Vietnam veterans of the Royal Australian Navy had a higher rate of
  mortality from Agent Orange-associated diseases than did Vietnam
  veterans from other branches of the military; when the United
  States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied specific
  cancers among Vietnam veterans, it found a higher risk of cancer
  among United States Navy veterans; and
         WHEREAS, Agent Orange did not discriminate between soldiers
  on the ground and sailors on ships offshore, and legislation to
  recognize this tragic fact and restore eligibility for compensation
  and medical care to United States Navy and United States Air Force
  veterans who sacrificed their health for their country is critical;
  civilians who came into contact with this poisonous substance
  through their employment or while residing in Vietnam likewise
  should be eligible for appropriate medical care to treat illnesses
  related to their exposure; and
         WHEREAS, Civilians who were exposed to Agent Orange through
  their employment have special difficulty receiving care and
  compensation for related conditions, as they must file their claims
  through the United States Department of Labor, which requires them
  to furnish proof of a causal connection between their jobs and their
  illnesses; such proof is difficult to provide, since cancer and
  other diseases that can be caused by exposure tend to develop over
  long periods of time; and
         WHEREAS, When the Agent Orange Act passed in 1991 with no
  dissenting votes, congressional leaders stressed the importance of
  responding to the health concerns of Vietnam veterans and ending
  the bitterness and anxiety that had surrounded the issue of
  herbicide exposure; the federal government has also demonstrated
  its awareness of the hazards of Agent Orange exposure through its
  involvement in the identification, containment, and mitigation of
  dioxin "hot spots" in Vietnam; and
         WHEREAS, The United States Congress should reaffirm the
  nation's commitment to the well-being of all of its veterans and
  direct the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to
  administer the Agent Orange Act under the presumption that
  herbicide exposure in the Republic of Vietnam includes the
  country's inland waterways, offshore waters, and airspace;
  similarly, Congress should institute a presumption of connection to
  employment for civilians exposed to Agent Orange in their
  workplaces to ensure they have access to the health care they need;
  now, therefore, be it
         RESOLVED, That the 83rd Legislature of the State of Texas
  hereby respectfully urge the Congress of the United States to
  restore the presumption of a service connection for Agent Orange
  exposure to United States Navy and United States Air Force veterans
  who served on the inland waterways, in the territorial waters, and
  in the airspace of the Republic of Vietnam and to institute a
  presumption of connection to employment for civilians exposed to
  Agent Orange in their workplaces; and, be it further
         RESOLVED, That the Texas secretary of state forward official
  copies of this resolution to the president of the United States, to
  the president of the Senate and speaker of the House of
  Representatives of the United States Congress, and to all the
  members of the Texas delegation to Congress with the request that
  this resolution be officially entered in the Congressional Record
  as a memorial to the Congress of the United States of America.