If it is approved and becomes a law, it would be considered a constitutional amendment for voters to decide.
In 2009, legislation was passed allowing veterans who are fully disabled to get a property tax exemption. In 2011, legislation was passed allowing that exemption to be passed on to surviving spouses if that veteran passed away.
On Wednesday, Staff Sgt. Donald Davis was found not guilty of abusive sexual contact with a trainee, but after submitting its acquittal, the military jury learned that Davis pled guilty to having an unprofessional sexual relationship with a technical trainee prior to the start of the court-martial.
On Thursday the jury deliberated for about two hours before returning with a three-pronged sentence: A reduction in rank to E-3, three months’ hard labor and a bad conduct discharge. He could have received a prison sentence instead of the discharge.
Staff Sgt. Donald Davis was charged with abusive sexual contact by touching a trainee and placing her in fear of her military career through the abuse of his authority. However, the defense argued the jury could not convict if there was reasonable doubt that the events occurred.
The military jury vote in the seventh court-martial indicated that the government had not met its burden of proof in the case.
The Air Force is now working on implementing the policy change by the Department of Defense allowing women into combat roles. Coincidentally, 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of women being able to become combat pilots for the Air Force.
Christa D'Andrea is the chief of public affairs for the Air Force Recruiting Service at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph and served on active-duty for 11 years. She said the integration of women in these roles is the next logical step in the military.
While most of the focus on the legislature thus far has been on issues like education funding, gun control and women's rights, Texas is also faced with the growing needs of veterans who return home; the two most vital being employment and medical care.
State legislators intend to lay out their bills for the 83rd legislative session over the coming months. Veteran's organizations will be waiting to see if they are part of lawmaker's plans. Most notably they'll look for legislation that works on reducing the disability claims backlogs that are continuing to rise in Texas.