With only ten minutes remaining in the Texas House for consideration of non-local Senate Bills, Speaker Straus recognized Representative Bonnen for an important motion.
"I make the motion to move to suspend all necessary rules to take up and consider Senate Bill 516. Senate Bill 516 is Representative Fletcher's bill, and it is appropriate to get this done tonight. It's to support our veterans who have given so much to us, so I move to suspend all necessary rules to pull this bill up," Representative Bonnen motioned.
The motion prevailed unanimously, and Senate Bill 516 passed 146-0.
This was Representative Fletcher's first bill he filed on November 8, 2010, the first day of bill filing for the 82nd Legislative Session. Representative Fletcher asked Senator Patrick to carry this bill in the Senate, and Senator Patrick did so proudly and successfully. The enabling legislation was carried by Doc Anderson in the House and Senator Van de Putte in the Senate.
“By extending property tax exemptions for veterans to these deserving spouses, we are recognizing, at least in small measure, the very real sacrifices that these families have made in the defense of our country,” stated Senator Patrick.
Currently, a totally disabled veteran receives a 100% property tax exemption. This bill extends the homestead exemption to their surviving spouse.
"When one of our brave soldiers becomes 100% disabled, the family of that soldier has to make career decisions. Far too often the spouses of these soldiers forgo career opportunities and many reduce work hours, affecting their income and retirement. The best care that can be given is from the one you’ve exchanged vows with," said Representative Fletcher.
With the passage of this legislation, the spouse will retain the total homestead exemption of their current home. If they wish to move about the state, closer to family, or to a different home, they will receive an exemption on their homestead in the amount equal to the exemption they received on their former homestead. This will provide the spouse the financial peace of mind by ensuring that their property tax exemption continues to be granted and will not expire after the death of the disabled veteran.