FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/13/2017
Miller Files House Bill 4089
On Friday, Representative Rick Miller (Fort Bend) filed House Bill 4089 as compromise legislation that seeks to preserve benefits for existing veterans and their families. As part of the program, for nearly 100 years, Texas has provided Texas’ veterans with up to 150 free credit hours at any public college or university in the state.
“As a Veteran myself, I believe one of the most powerful tools we can give to our veterans is an education” said Representative Rick Miller. “This bill fulfills the promises we have made to Texas Veterans and allows the program to live within the means for the benefit of all future Veterans and their families.
Unfortunately since 2009, when the Legislature passed a bill that expanded this benefit to the children of all Texas veterans, the costs of the program has risen from $25 million in 2009 to $178 million in 2015. This increase has threatened the ability of the program to survive and this bill will help it continue to serve those who serve.
Jim Brennan, the Legislative Director for the Texas Coalition of Veterans Organizations said, "The Texas Coalition of Veterans Organizations is committed to serving our veterans interests through our advocacy at the Capitol. We appreciate the efforts of every legislator that has demonstrated an interest and understanding of the issues that veterans and their families face on a daily basis. Crafting solutions to issues through the legislative process requires collaboration with all the affected parties and Representative Miller’s thoughtful work on Hazlewood is an important step in this process. We look forward to working with every member of the 85th Legislature, the leadership of all the Universities in Texas, and our veterans to preserve the earned benefits our State provides."
There have been several bills filled this legislative session regarding Hazlewood. Miller’s bill, HB 4089, makes a number of changes to the act, but he emphasizes that it would not make any changes to those currently enrolled in college or those who enlisted in military service prior to September 1, 2017.
“I have filed HB 4089 in an effort to help save this program we have created for our Veterans and their children. This program is well intentioned, however the cost to public colleges and universities has exceeded the projected costs” said Miller. “Though these are tough decisions, without making these changes, the Legislature will face much harder choices in the near future and we should act now to protect this program for Texas veterans."
Representative Rick Miller is a decorated military veteran, having served in the United States Navy for thirty years. Miller was first elected to office in 2012 and currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee and the House Human Services Committee. He represents the communities of Sugar Land and part of Richmond in Texas House District 26.