AUSTIN – Today, the Texas House of Representatives voted 141-1 in favor of House Joint Resolution 30 and House Bill 179, which would entitle a first responder who is severely injured in the line of duty to an exemption from property taxes for their residence homestead.
"I want to thank my colleagues for working with me to pass this important legislation," said Representative Kevin Roberts (Houston). "In the course of their daily work, our first responders can face an incredible amount of danger and sometimes bad things happen. It is important that our men and women, who spend every day protecting Texans, know that the state will have their backs and take care of their families."
Many of the first responder stakeholder organizations have lent their support to HJR 30 & HB 179, including the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, Texas Municipal Police Association, Texas State Troopers Association and the Houston Police Officers' Union. Upon passage of the legislation, several organizations released statements of approval.
"The Texas State Association of Fire Fighters applauds Rep. Roberts effort to provide real tax relief to disabled fire fighters and their families through HB 179 and HJR 30. Fire Fighters devote their lives and sometimes fall seriously ill or are grievously injured and are unable to return to work. This legislation is a great way to ensure that they have a measure of financial security," said Texas State Association of Fire Fighters Legislative Director Glen Deshields.
“The Association of Texas EMS Professionals appreciates the foresight of Rep. Kevin Roberts with the sponsorship of his first responder legislation," said Joel Romo, an ATEMSP consultant. "Our members are dedicated to providing the most comprehensive, evidence-based care to our patients in order to lower or prevent disease or morbidity and mortality. At times, our members lives are in jeopardy and our members appreciate policies such as HB 79 & HJR 30 which will provide a benefit for EMS personnel and their families should there be a tragedy.”
Since 1998, there have been sixteen cases of first responders who have had injuries that meet the qualifications under the legislation. The injuries that would be covered involve injuries to the spine that result in paralysis, multiple limbs lost, loss of eyesight or even severe burns to over 40% of the body.
“This legislation is about Dallas Police Officer Carlton Marshal, who was shot in the neck and paralyzed from the neck down in 2007. It is also about David Rodriguez who was shot in 1994 during a drug raid and also was paralyzed. Both are home owners and I am hopeful that my bill will be able to change their lives,” said Representative Roberts.
CONTACT: Michael Blair