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Senate OKs bills in response to Dallas police shootings


Highlights

One bill would exempt the property taxes for the spouse of a first responder killed on duty.

Another bill would create a $25 million grant program for better bulletproof vests.

Responding to the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers last July, the Texas Senate on Monday unanimously approved five pieces of legislation, including efforts to provide better bulletproof vests and give financial help to the families of officers killed on duty.

The final vote was taken on behalf of 18 officers killed on duty in Texas in 2016-17, with each name read aloud by state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, along with the date they died.

“This is the day we take off our red jerseys and our blue jerseys to come together for law enforcement,” West said as dozens of officers watched from the gallery.

Approved Monday and sent to the House were:

Senate Bill 15, granting a property tax exemption for the spouses of police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel killed on duty. The exemption lasts until the spouse remarries, and the current value of the exemption would transfer to a new home if the spouse were to move.

Senate Joint Resolution 1, which creates a constitutional amendment allowing for the property tax exemption. Voter approval would be required in November.

Senate Bill 12, creating a $25 million grant program, run by the governor’s office, to help law enforcement agencies purchase better bulletproof vests and related equipment.

Senate Bill 1138, creating a “Blue Alert” system to publicize the description of suspects when a law officer is hurt or killed.

Senate Bill 798, establishing July 7 — the anniversary of the Dallas shootings — as Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Day.



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