Texas Border Business
AUSTIN, TX – Today, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 129 authored by Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa. This bill would give property tax relief in the form of an exemption to the surviving spouse of an officer or a special agent who was killed while in the line of duty while serving the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The first responder must have been a resident of the state at the time of death.
Current law entitles the surviving spouse of a fallen first responder including Texas certified peace officers, probation officers, volunteer fire-fighters, EMS, DPS troopers, and game wardens. However, when the law was passed, it excluded federal law enforcement agents living in Texas. With property taxes on the rise, SB 129 will ensure that spouses of certain federal law enforcement first responders killed in the line of duty are not burdened with property taxes due to the death of his or her spouse. The exemption is available for all surviving spouses, regardless of the date of the first responder’s death, so long as he or she was married to the first responder at the time and has not since remarried.
Senator Hinojosa released the following statement:
“In 2017, Texans overwhelmingly supported the constitutional amendment that provides a property tax exemption to spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty. Our first responders risk their lives to protect our families, so it is only right that we look after their families should tragedy befall a first responder in the line of duty. The surviving spouse already has to deal with grief and the financial challenges of losing their spouse. The least we can do is help them keep their family home by removing the burden of having to pay property taxes. SB 129 continues Texas’ commitment to our first responders.”