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  H.B. No. 696
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to employment and referral services for veterans and
  military service members.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter A, Chapter 302, Labor Code, is
  amended by adding Sections 302.0033 and 302.00335 to read as
  follows:
         Sec. 302.0033.  OPERATION WELCOME HOME PROGRAM.  (a)  The
  commission shall establish and administer the Operation Welcome
  Home program to expedite the entry of veterans and military service
  members into the workforce through the use of enhanced employment
  services.  In establishing the program, the commission shall build
  partnerships between military transition centers and local
  workforce development boards to ensure the availability of
  employment services, including services related to:
               (1)  education;
               (2)  career technical training; and
               (3)  entrepreneurship. 
         (b)  The commission may award grants to state, local, or
  private entities that perform activities related to the purposes of
  this section.
         (c)  The commission shall administer the program using money
  previously appropriated to the commission or received from federal
  or other sources.
         (d)  The commission may adopt rules as necessary for the
  administration of this section.
         Sec. 302.00335.  TEXAS VETERANS LEADERSHIP PROGRAM. (a)
  The commission, in consultation with the Texas Veterans Commission,
  shall establish a Texas Veterans Leadership Program.
         (b)  The mission of the program is to serve as a resource and
  referral network connecting veterans with the resources and tools
  they need to lead productive lives and enjoy the full benefits of
  the society they have willingly served.
         (c)  The program shall collaborate with local workforce
  development boards to provide services to veterans under this
  section. The program may collaborate with other federal, state,
  county, municipal, and private agencies to provide services to
  veterans under this section.
         (d)  The program shall employ veterans to serve as veteran
  resource and referral specialists. A veteran resource and referral
  specialist shall:
               (1)  seek out veterans in need of services;
               (2)  serve as a resource and referral agent, directing
  veterans to resources tailored to veterans' needs;
               (3)  make referrals and coordinate with other programs
  of the commission, the Texas Veterans Commission, and other
  federal, state, county, municipal, and private agencies that
  provide services for veterans relating to:
                     (A)  employment;
                     (B)  education and training;
                     (C)  medical care;
                     (D)  mental health and counseling; and
                     (E)  veterans benefits; and
               (4)  coordinate the services of volunteer veterans
  familiar with the obstacles faced by veterans to assist in
  mentoring and serving veterans.
         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, 2019.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 696 was passed by the House on April
  26, 2019, by the following vote:  Yeas 135, Nays 4, 2 present, not
  voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 696 was passed by the Senate on May
  22, 2019, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays 0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
  APPROVED:  _____________________
                     Date          
   
            _____________________
                   Governor