FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/24/2015
Reps. Blanco and Farias Fight to Preserve Hazlewood and Protect Our Promise to Veterans
Hazlewood Program Successfully Preserved Thanks to Leadership by Democratic Lawmakers
Austin, TX: Rep. Cesar J. Blanco (El Paso) and Rep. Joe Farias (San Antonio), both Veterans, today led the efforts in the Texas house to preserve the Hazlewood Act and protect the promise made to Veterans and their families. As initially presented to the Texas House, SB 1735 would have deeply scaled back the Hazlewood program, which exempts Veterans from tuition at Texas colleges and universities and allows Veterans to pass on their unused benefits to their children. After heavy resistance from Reps. Blanco, Farias and a group of other lawmakers, a compromise was reached to keep current benefits in place for Texas Veterans and their families.
"We must honor our Veterans not just with our words but with our actions," said Rep. Cesar Blanco. "Our Veterans and their families are counting on the promise that was made to them. The efforts to preserve the earned benefits through Hazlewood are a huge victory for Veterans, their children, and all Texans. I'm thankful for the passion and work by my fellow Veteran, Rep. Joe Farias to protect this program for Texas families."
SB 1735 as approved by the house would require Veterans to live in Texas for eight years to earn benefits under the Hazlewood Act. Aside from the residency requirement, the benefits in the Hazlewood program are virtually unchanged in SB 1735 as passed by the House.
In speaking against efforts to cut Hazlewood, Rep. Joe Farias said, "If the Legislature decides to roll back its promise to Texas Veterans and their families, what does that say about us as a state? When we talk about the Veteran we must remember that with them comes their family. I will fight for them until I cannot fight any longer."
Before the compromise was reached, Rep. Blanco offered an amendment to protect Veterans who were already counting on Hazlewood to send their kids to college. Blanco's amendment would have grandfathered in anyone who signs up for the service before September 1st, 2015.
Contact: Rebecca Acuña