From the Office of State Senator Leticia Van de Putte

For Immediate Release
January 14, 2011
Contact: Sarah Gomez, 512-463-0126

Senator Van de Putte Files Legislation To Aid the Surviving Spouses of Veterans

(Austin) — Senator Leticia Van de Putte, joined by Senators Ellis (D-13), Hinojosa (D-20), Lucio (D-27), Zaffirini (D-21), Deuell (R-2), Watson (D-14), Uresti (D-19), Davis (D-10), and Rodriguez (D-29) filed Senate Bill 357 (SB 357) and Senate Joint Resolution 14 (SJR 14). This bill, and its accompanying joint resolution, would amend the Texas Constitution in order to allow the transfer of the 100% property tax exemption for fully disabled veterans to the surviving spouse should the veteran pass away before the spouse. The legislation and the joint resolution that will place the issue before the voters in the form of a constitutional amendment are evidence of both Senator Van de Putte's and her colleagues' commitment to our state's veterans.

Last session, the Texas Legislature passed SB 469. The bill and its accompanying constitutional amendment established the 100% exemption for those veterans who became fully disabled in their service to this nation. This legislative session, lawmakers continue to recognize those who sacrificed on our collective behalf by allowing the exemption to transfer to the surviving spouse.

"I firmly believe that those who serve our country and suffer injuries in the line of duty should be granted certain privileges. This legislative initiative simply extends an existing exemption to the spouse who stood by their disabled husband or wife," said Senator Van de Putte. She added, "By granting the surviving spouse the financial peace of mind that the memory of the recently deceased deserves, the state of Texas reinforces its commitment to those who sacrificed so much for freedoms."

"The spouses of fully disabled veterans have walked with their husbands and wives through hard times. They should share in the rewards of their sacrifice," Senator Lucio said. "Losing a spouse should not be compounded by a property tax spike. This bill will help reassure fully disabled veterans that their loved ones will be taken care of after they are gone."

"It is an honor to join my colleagues in recognizing the sacrifices of our military spouses. This bill will offer security and stability to the men and women that have already given so much to both their families and our country," stated Senator Ellis.

Senator Wendy Davis, a member of the committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations, said the bill mirrors many policies of the U.S. military that pass on benefits to veterans' spouses. "In many cases, our nation's heroes have suffered physical and psychological wounds that are often a shared sacrifice by these veterans' spouses," Davis said. "It is absolutely the right thing to do to extend this benefit to the surviving spouse of a military veteran, given the limited fixed incomes of the veterans' surviving spouses."

Senator Van de Putte, chair of the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee, consistently authors legislation that serves the needs of Texas' brave veteran population.