On Tuesday, February 14, 2023, Representative Marie Woodson (D-Hollywood) presented a bill to the Ways and Means Committee that has the potential to bring much-needed relief to the families of first responders who have died in the line of duty. The bill, known as HB 101 Homestead Exemption for First Responders, aims to expand the definition of “first responder” to include certain federal law enforcement officers.
Current legislation provides property tax exemptions to state and local officers killed in the line of duty. However, this legislation does not extend to the homesteaded property of surviving spouses of first responders who die in the line of duty while employed by the federal government. This means that the surviving spouses of federal officers who have died in the line of duty may not receive the same relief as the surviving spouses of state and local officers.
The passing of this bill through the Ways and Means Committee, with unanimous support, is a significant step forward. If passed, it will provide crucial relief to the families of first responders who have given their lives in service to our communities. The bill was also favorably referred to the Local Administration, Federal Affairs and Special Districts Subcommittee, which suggests that it has a good chance of passing through the legislative process.
Representative Marie Woodson expressed her excitement about the bill’s passage through the committee and thanked her colleagues for their bipartisan support. She also expressed her appreciation to Broward County Property Appraiser Marty Kiar for working with her on the bill. The passing of this bill would represent a significant victory for the families of first responders who have made the ultimate sacrifice. It is a clear demonstration of the government’s commitment to supporting those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities.