New Texas House bill would give survivor benefits to families of National Guard who die on state active duty

State Rep. Richard Raymond, a Democrat from Laredo, said he designed the legislation with Operation Lone Star in mind.



To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="https://embed.hpm.io/1/438919" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

Get TPR’s best stories of the day and a jump start to the weekend with the 321 Newsletter — straight to your inbox every day. Sign up for it here.

A new bill in the Texas House would provide survivor benefits to the families of Texas National Guard members who die in the line of duty on state-sponsored missions such as Gov. Greg Abbott's Operation Lone Star.

The controversial border security initiative is an unusually long mission for the Texas National Guard. At least ten service members have died in connection with it, including one who drowned while trying to rescue migrants from the Rio Grande.

State Rep. Richard Raymond, a Democrat from Laredo, has introduced legislation that would provide life insurance-style benefits families could apply for in the event of a loss.

"It’s very, very tough to lose someone like that. Believe me, it’s a small measure — what we’re contemplating giving the family in terms of assistance. But it’s at least somewhat helpful," he explained.

"It seems likely that the soldier would be relatively young, probably with a young family,” Raymond added. “We already have this in place for others who serve the state, including first responders."

Currently, Guard members serving on state active duty only get state workers compensation death benefits. It's a fraction of what's given to those who deploy on federal missions. To make matters worse, their families often have to front the money for their funeral costs.

Raymond said he expects his bill to pass, pointing to the fact that many of his colleagues assumed Texas National Guard members already received substantial survivor benefits.

No cost assessment for the bill has been done. But Raymond said he expects the price tag will be minimal, since fatalities on state-sponsored Guard missions are relatively rare.

Copyright 2022 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.
Today in Houston Newsletter Signup
We're in the process of transitioning services for our Today in Houston newsletter. If you'd like to sign up now, fill out the form below and we will add you as soon as we finish the transition. **Please note** If you are already signed up for the newsletter, you do not need to sign up again. Your subscription will be migrated over.