First Responders Pandemic Care Act passes Senate unanimously

Texas Capitol Building
Texas Capitol Building(Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune)
Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 5:28 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KCBD) - First Responders and the families of those who suffered injuries or even deaths from front line work during the COVID-19 pandemic are one step closer to receiving compensation and recognition from the State of Texas.

The State Senate passed the First Responders Pandemic Care Act by a unanimous vote, Wednesday. The bill would authorize COVID-19 cases as a line of duty death, working retroactively, as well as for future state emergency illnesses.

Last week, KCBD spoke to Rachel Vega, wife of Lynn County Sheriff Abraham Vega, who has been one of at least 90 first responder families fighting for this bill since her husband’s death due to complications from COVID-19.

MORE: First responders who died of COVID-19 denied line of duty death recognition, Abraham Vega’s wife fights for change

In a release issued following the vote, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said this bill represents standing up for first responders.

“Senate Bill 22 will ensure that those first responders who were disabled or lost their lives to COVID-19 are treated as line-of-duty disabilities or deaths,” Patrick said. “I congratulate Sen. Springer and the Texas Senate for unanimously passing Senate Bill 22 and standing up for our heroes, who risk their lives for our communities every day.”

Senate Bill 22 is authored by Sens. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, Cesar Blanco, D-El Paso, Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Nathan Johnson, D-Dallas, Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, Beverly Powell, D-Burleson, and Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo.

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