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  S.B. No. 1376
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to an employment preference for members of the military
  and their spouses for positions at state agencies.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 656.027, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 656.027.  MILITARY EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE [FOR
  VETERANS] ON STATE EMPLOYMENT FORMS. The commission shall include
  on all forms relating to state agency employment that are
  prescribed by the commission under this subchapter or other law a
  statement regarding the requirement prescribed by Chapter 657 that
  each state agency give a military [veterans] employment preference
  until the agency workforce is composed of at least 20 [40] percent
  individuals who qualify for a military employment preference under
  Section 657.002 [veterans].
         SECTION 2.  The heading to Chapter 657, Government Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 657.  MILITARY [VETERAN'S] EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCES
         SECTION 3.  Section 657.002, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 657.002.  INDIVIDUALS QUALIFIED FOR MILITARY
  [VETERAN'S] EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE. The following individuals
  qualify for a military [veteran's] employment preference:
               (1)  a veteran, including a veteran with a disability;
               (2)  a veteran's surviving spouse who has not
  remarried; [and]
               (3)  an orphan of a veteran if the veteran was killed
  while on active duty;
               (4)  the spouse of a member of the United States armed
  forces or Texas National Guard serving on active duty; and
               (5)  the spouse of a veteran if the spouse is the
  primary source of income for the household and the veteran has a
  total disability rating based either on having a service-connected
  disability with a disability rating of at least 70 percent or on
  individual unemployability.
         SECTION 4.  Section 657.003, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 657.003.  MILITARY [VETERAN'S] EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE.
  (a) An individual who qualifies for a military [veteran's]
  employment preference is entitled to a preference in employment
  with or appointment to a state agency over other applicants for the
  same position who do not have a greater qualification.
         (b)  A state agency shall provide to an individual entitled
  to a military [veteran's] employment preference for employment or
  appointment over other applicants for the same position who do not
  have a greater qualification a military [veteran's] employment
  preference, in the following order of priority:
               (1)  a veteran with a disability;
               (2)  a veteran;
               (3)  a spouse described by Section 657.002(4) or (5);
               (4)  a veteran's surviving spouse who has not
  remarried; and
               (5) [(4)]  an orphan of a veteran if the veteran was
  killed while on active duty.
         (c)  If a state agency requires a competitive examination
  under a merit system or civil service plan for selecting or
  promoting employees, an individual entitled to a military
  [veteran's] employment preference who otherwise is qualified for
  that position and who has received at least the minimum required
  score for the test is entitled to have a service credit of 10 points
  added to the test score. A veteran with a disability is entitled to
  have a service credit of five additional points added to the
  individual's test score.
         (d)  An individual entitled to a military [veteran's]
  employment preference is not disqualified from holding a position
  with a state agency because of age or an established
  service-connected disability if the age or disability does not make
  the individual incompetent to perform the duties of the position.
         SECTION 5.  Section 657.0045, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 657.0045.  DESIGNATION OF OPEN POSITION FOR AND
  IMMEDIATE HIRING OF INDIVIDUAL ENTITLED TO MILITARY [VETERAN'S]
  EMPLOYMENT PREFERENCE. (a) A state agency may designate an open
  position as a military preference [veteran's] position and only
  accept applications for that position from individuals who are
  entitled to a military [veteran's] employment preference under
  Section 657.003.
         (b)  Notwithstanding any other law, a state agency may hire
  or appoint for an open position within the agency an individual
  entitled to a military [veteran's] employment preference under
  Section 657.003 without announcing or advertising the position if
  the agency:
               (1)  uses the automated labor exchange system
  administered by the Texas Workforce Commission to identify an
  individual who qualifies for a military [veteran's] employment
  preference under this chapter; and
               (2)  determines the individual meets the
  qualifications required for the position.
         SECTION 6.  Section 657.0046, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 657.0046.  STATE AGENCY  [VETERAN'S] LIAISON FOR
  VETERANS, MILITARY MEMBERS, AND THEIR DEPENDENTS. (a) Each state
  agency that has at least 500 full-time equivalent positions shall
  designate an individual from the agency to serve as a [veteran's]
  liaison for veterans, military members, and their dependents.
         (b)  A state agency that has fewer than 500 full-time
  equivalent positions may designate an individual from the agency to
  serve as the [a veteran's] liaison described by Subsection (a).
         (c)  Each state agency that designates a [veteran's] liaison
  under this section shall make available on the agency's Internet
  website the liaison's individual work contact information.
         SECTION 7.  Section 657.0047, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 657.0047.  INTERVIEWS AT STATE AGENCIES. (a) For each
  announced open position at a state agency, the state agency shall
  interview:
               (1)  if the total number of individuals interviewed for
  the position is six or fewer, at least one individual qualified for
  a military [veteran's] employment preference under Section
  657.003; or
               (2)  if the total number of individuals interviewed for
  the position is more than six, a number of individuals qualified for
  a military [veteran's] employment preference under Section 657.003
  equal to at least 20 percent of the total number interviewed.
         (b)  A state agency that does not receive any applications
  from individuals who qualify for a military [veteran's] employment
  preference under Section 657.003 is not required to comply with
  Subsection (a).
         SECTION 8.  Section 657.005(a), Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  The individual whose duty is to appoint or employ an
  applicant for a position with a state agency or an officer or the
  chief administrator of the agency who receives an application for
  appointment or employment by an individual entitled to a military
  [veteran's] employment preference, before appointing or employing
  any individual, shall investigate the qualifications of the
  applicant for the position.
         SECTION 9.  Section 657.010, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 657.010.  COMPLAINT REGARDING EMPLOYMENT DECISION OF
  STATE AGENCY. (a) An individual entitled to a military [veteran's]
  employment preference under this chapter who is aggrieved by a
  decision of a state agency to which this chapter applies relating to
  hiring or appointing the individual, or relating to retaining the
  individual if the state agency reduces its workforce, may appeal
  the decision by filing a written complaint with the executive
  director of the state agency under this section.
         (b)  The executive director of a state agency that receives a
  written complaint under Subsection (a) shall respond to the
  complaint not later than the 15th business day after the date the
  executive director receives the complaint. The executive director
  may render a different hiring or appointment decision than the
  decision that is the subject of the complaint if the executive
  director determines that the military [veteran's] preference was
  not applied.
         SECTION 10.  Section 32.54(b), Penal Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (b)  A person commits an offense if the person:
               (1)  uses or claims to hold a military record that the
  person knows:
                     (A)  is fraudulent;
                     (B)  is fictitious or has otherwise not been
  granted or assigned to the person; or
                     (C)  has been revoked; and
               (2)  uses or claims to hold that military record:
                     (A)  in a written or oral advertisement or other
  promotion of a business; or
                     (B)  with the intent to:
                           (i)  obtain priority in receiving services
  or resources under Subchapter G, Chapter 302, Labor Code;
                           (ii)  qualify for a military [veteran's]
  employment preference under Chapter 657, Government Code;
                           (iii)  obtain a license or certificate to
  practice a trade, profession, or occupation;
                           (iv)  obtain a promotion, compensation, or
  other benefit, or an increase in compensation or other benefit, in
  employment or in the practice of a trade, profession, or
  occupation;
                           (v)  obtain a benefit, service, or donation
  from another person;
                           (vi)  obtain admission to an educational
  program in this state; or
                           (vii)  gain a position in state government
  with authority over another person, regardless of whether the actor
  receives compensation for the position.
         SECTION 11.  The changes in law made by this Act to Chapter
  657, Government Code, apply only to an open position with a state
  agency for which the state agency begins accepting applications on
  or after the effective date of this Act. An open position with a
  state agency for which the state agency begins accepting
  applications before the effective date of this Act is governed by
  the law in effect on the date the state agency began accepting
  applications, and the former law is continued in effect for that
  purpose.
         SECTION 12.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2023.
 
 
 
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1376 passed the Senate on
  April 20, 2023, by the following vote: Yeas 30, Nays 1; and that
  the Senate concurred in House amendments on May 27, 2023, by the
  following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1376 passed the House, with
  amendments, on May 24, 2023, by the following vote: Yeas 138,
  Nays 0, one present not voting.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
 
  Approved:
 
  ______________________________ 
              Date
 
 
  ______________________________ 
            Governor