News Release from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2007
Contact: Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121

Texas Legislature Passes HB 741 by Zaffirini, King and Guillen to Expand Higher Education Tuition Exemptions for Dependents of Volunteer Peace Officers

Austin, TX -- Dependents of volunteer law enforcement officers who were killed or disabled in the line of duty will be exempt from higher education tuition and fees under legislation passed Monday (May 14) and sponsored by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, Rep. Tracy King, D-Batesville, and Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City.

"The brave men and women who lay their lives on the line daily to protect small and rural communities often do so voluntarily," Senator Zaffirini said. "HB 741 would provide financial relief from the costs of higher education for the sons and daughters of many volunteer peace officers who died or became disabled serving families and communities in our Senate District 21 and throughout Texas. I am delighted to sponsor this legislation and thank Rep. King and Rep. Guillen for their leadership in authoring HB 741."

"Every student deserves the opportunity to pursue a higher education," Rep. King said. "HB 741 extends this opportunity to the children of volunteer peace officers, who, like all other law enforcement officials, risk their lives every day for the safety and betterment of our communities. The tuition and fee exemption for the children of these individuals is a small token of gratitude for the sacrifices they made to protect Texans everywhere."

"The importance of citizen participation in law enforcement and the debt that our communities owe to volunteers who are killed or disabled because of their dedication must be recognized. It has been a pleasure to work on this legislation with Senator Zaffirini to make that recognition a reality," Rep. Guillen said.

Current law provides exemptions from tuition and fees at public higher education institutions for the children of full-paid firefighters, police offices and volunteer firefighters who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty. Volunteer peace officers often receive the same training and fulfill the same duties as full-paid law enforcement officers.

SB 741 will be sent to Governor Rick Perry for his signature. The continued progress of this and all bills authored by Senator Zaffirini can be monitored via the internet at www.zaffirini.senate.state.tx.us or by contacting the Texas Legislative Reference Library at 512/463-1252.

PHOTO

SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-LAREDO, explains HB 741 by Zaffirini, Rep. Tracy King, D-Batesville, and Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City. The bill extends higher education tuition and fee exemptions to dependents of volunteer peace officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.

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