Se­nate ap­proves five po­lice-re­lated bills

$25 mil­lion grant pro­gram would fo­cus on pro­tec­tion.

Austin American-Statesman - - STATESMAN AT THE LEGISLATURE - By Chuck Lin­dell clin­dell@states­ Con­tact Chuck Lin­dell at 512912-2569. Twit­ter: @chuck­lin­dell

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, creat- ing 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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