H.B. No. 2951
  relating to the establishment of a service dog pilot program for
  certain veterans.
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter A, Chapter 434, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 434.029 to read as follows:
  VETERANS. (a)  In this section:
               (1)  "Commission" means the Texas Veterans Commission.
               (2)  "Pilot program" means the pilot program
  established under this section.
               (3)  "Veteran" means an individual who has served in:
                     (A)  an active or reserve component of the army,
  navy, air force, coast guard, space force, or marine corps of the
  United States; or
                     (B)  the Texas National Guard, as defined by
  Section 431.001.
         (b)  The commission by rule shall establish a pilot program
  for veterans to assist in mitigating the symptoms of military
  service-related post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain
  injury, or military sexual trauma through the provision of a
  service dog.
         (c)  The commission shall issue a request for proposals from
  nonprofit corporations to provide trained service dogs and training
  and services to veterans who participate in the pilot program.
         (d)  The commission shall approve one or more nonprofit
  corporations to provide services through the pilot program.  The
  commission may not approve a nonprofit corporation unless the
               (1)  has demonstrated experience working with veterans
  who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic
  brain injury, or military sexual trauma;
               (2)  is authorized to conduct business in this state;
               (3)  is able to provide follow-up services to a veteran
  who participates in the pilot program and the veteran's service
  dog; and
               (4)  adheres to the standards of Assistance Dogs
         (e)  A nonprofit corporation that is approved to provide
  services under the pilot program shall:
               (1)  employ professional staff to train dogs to become
  service dogs for veterans participating in the pilot program;
               (2)  provide each veteran participating in the pilot
  program a fully trained service dog;
               (3)  instruct each veteran participating in the pilot
  program on maintaining the service dog's health and training;
               (4)  while a veteran is participating in the pilot
  program, ensure that regular mental health and depression
  assessments are conducted on the veteran; and
               (5)  be able to provide a veteran participating in the
  pilot program a new service dog if the veteran's service dog:
                     (A)  is incompatible with the veteran; or
                     (B)  dies or is otherwise unable to fulfill the
  dog's duty as a service dog before the fourth anniversary of the
  date the veteran received the service dog under the pilot program.
         (f)  All goods and services provided to a veteran as part of
  the pilot program, including a veteran's service dog, must be
  provided at no cost to the veteran.
         (g)  A service dog provided by a nonprofit corporation as
  part of the pilot program must:
               (1)  complete a training program accredited by
  Assistance Dogs International;
               (2)  comply with any requirements of the Americans with
  Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Section 12101 et seq.); and
               (3)  be evaluated by a veterinarian to ensure the dog is
  medically fit to serve as a service dog.
         (h)  The commission may accept gifts, grants, and donations
  to fund the pilot program.
         (i)  Not later than October 1, 2026, the commission shall
  prepare and submit a report evaluating the pilot program to the
  governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the house of
  representatives, and appropriate standing committees of the
  legislature.  The report must include:
               (1)  recommendations for legislative or other action;
               (2)  an evaluation of the pilot program's
  effectiveness, including a recommendation on whether the pilot
  program should be continued, expanded, or terminated.
         (j)  The pilot program concludes and this section expires
  September 1, 2027.
         SECTION 2.  The Texas Veterans Commission shall adopt rules
  to administer the pilot program established under Section 434.029,
  Government Code, as added by this Act, as soon as practicable after
  the effective date of this Act.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2023.
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
         I certify that H.B. No. 2951 was passed by the House on May 6,
  2023, by the following vote:  Yeas 137, Nays 0, 1 present, not
  Chief Clerk of the House   
         I certify that H.B. No. 2951 was passed by the Senate on May
  22, 2023, by the following vote:  Yeas 30, Nays 1.
  Secretary of the Senate    
  APPROVED:  _____________________