Unfinished Business

HB 1157: Permanent Resident Veteran Eligibility as Peace Officers

Some Texas cities, including Houston, are experiencing shortages of peace officers. In Houston, the nation’s most diverse city, the need is especially great for officers that speak multiple languages and come from different backgrounds.

House Bill 1157 by Rep. Hubert Vo sought to provide a solution to both problems by making honorably discharged veterans who are permanent U.S. residents eligible for employment as peace officers.

HB 1157 would have amended the Local Government Code to authorize a city that commissions and employs peace officers to hire legal permanent residents of the United States who are honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. armed forces.

This legislation would have amended the Occupations Code to require the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) to issue a peace officer license to a person who is a legal permanent resident of the United States, if the person meets applicable statutory and TCOLE rule requirements and is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. armed forces. The bill required TCOLE to amend rules as necessary to comply with this requirement.

Rep. Vo passed the bill out of the Texas House of Representatives, but it did not advance in the Senate.