HB 1094

84(R) - 2015
House Business & Industry
House Business & Industry
Business, Industry, & Commerce

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Negative
  • Neutral


Charlie Geren


Kyle Kacal
Eddie Lucio III
Armando Martinez
Tony Tinderholt

Bill Caption

Relating to workers' compensation death benefit eligibility for certain spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty.

Fiscal Notes

There is no fiscal note at this time.

Bill Analysis

This bill seeks to provide death benefits for life to eligible remarried spouses of first responders who died within the scope of employment or while providing services as a volunteer. Death benefits are equal to 75% of the employee's average weekly wage and may be dispersed in the manner deemed appropriate by the commissioner. Currently the law allows for eligible spouses to receive 104 weeks of death benefits following remarriage. This bill would only affect claims made after September 1, 2015.    

Vote Recommendation Notes

While this bill does address a sensitive topic, that does not mean it should pass without due consideration of the intended purpose of death benefits for surviving spouses and the consequences of changing the law as proposed.

The purpose of the workers' compensation death benefit is to provide a surviving spouse with a continued stable income to provide for the household of a public servant killed in the line of duty or while serving as a volunteer off the clock. This protects eligible surviving spouses from the economic impact of the loss of income as a result of the service-connected death of their spouse. As a society we recognize that these public servants and their families take great personal risks; the death benefit to surviving spouses reflects that.

However, once a surviving spouse remarries the original purpose of the death benefit is voided. The payments would transition from supporting the household of a surviving spouse to supporting the joint household of the surviving spouse and new spouse. This effectively extends the benefit to the person whom the surviving spouse remarries.

For these reasons, we oppose HB 1094 as a violation of limited government.