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Gov. Perry Signs Bills to Assist Military Families and Communities

Location: Austin, TX

Gov. Perry Signs Bills to Assist Military Families and Communities

Gov. Rick Perry today signed into law legislation that protects members of the military against predatory lenders and the loss of unemployment benefits, expands four state programs that benefit military communities and allows military members to terminate lease agreements when duty calls.

"Texas is proud of the men and women who serve our country and the communities in which they live," Perry said. "We have made every effort over the past few years to enhance the value of our military communities and these bills not only continue that effort but also improve the quality of life for our servicemen and women and their families."

* Senate Bill 1479 (Shapleigh) provides financial protections to members of the military from predatory payday lenders, including the prohibition of lenders contacting the employer of a member of the Unites States military or the member's spouse about payday lending debt and the prohibition of wage garnishment for members of the United States military or their spouses. SB 1479 will take effect Sept. 1, 2005.
* House Bill 3302 / Senate Bill 1481 (Corte-Shapleigh) increase the membership of the Governor's Military Preparedness Commission from nine to 13 and expand the revolving loan fund administered by the commission to communities that may be harmed by the upcoming base realignment and closure process. These bills take effect Sept. 1, 2005
* Senate Bill 1186 (Nelson) allows military service members to terminate lease agreements if and when they are transferred for military service and prohibits waiver of this right. The bill also extends this right to family violence victims who terminate leases to move away from their attackers. SB 1186 takes effect on Jan. 1, 2006.
* Senate Bill 1342 (Van de Putte) expands the list of employees exempt from disqualification from unemployment benefits to include military spouses who move as a result of their spouse's permanent change of station or a tour of duty. Under current law, if an employee voluntarily quits his or her job to move with their spouse, they are disqualified from unemployment insurance benefits for a period of six to 25 weeks. This bill will take effect immediately.
* House Bill 2340 (Corte) expands three existing programs for defense communities: Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant (DEAAG), the Military Value Revolving Loan Fund and The Defense Economic Readjustment Zone Program (DERZ).

House Bill 2340 opens the DEAAG grant program to communities that are positively affected by BRAC decisions while giving communities adversely affected by BRAC funding priority. The bill also expands the Military Value Revolving Loan Fund to communities positively and negatively affected by BRAC; and extends the DERZ program beyond its current expiration date to allow qualified businesses to continue to receive the franchise tax incentive. This bill takes effect Sept. 1, 2005.

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