Legislative Updates

Ways and Means Committee To Vote On WEP Reform Bill

The U.S. House of Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to vote on H.R. 711, a bill that proposes to replace the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) formula. The hearing will take place Wednesday at 1PM CT. The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) will be bringing you details as they arrive.

This marks the first time in 30 years that a bill proposing to repeal the existing arbitrary WEP has gone to a vote. Additionally, this marks the first step towards making H.R. 711 into law. The bill first must pass out of committee before it can reach the House floor.

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TRTA Continues to Push for WEP Reform

The Texas Retired Teachers Association made another push for reform on the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), as Executive Director Tim Lee, Legislative Coordinator Bill Barnes and Pensions Consultant Ronnie Jung visited Washington, D.C.

The WEP is an unfair social security provision that hurts the financial income of retirees in Texas and 12 other states. Retirees who fall under the WEP are penalized for their years of public service. These retirees include public educators, firefighters and policemen.

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Answers to TRS-Care Questions Coming Soon

Last week, the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) reported that the Board of Trustees of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) approved several changes to the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program. You may read TRTA’s update about those changes by clicking here.

TRTA has received several questions from members regarding these changes. Please know that we are working closely with TRS to receive answers to your questions, and that we will update our members with this new information as soon as it becomes available.

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Changes to TRS-Care Adopted by TRS Board of Trustees; Benefit Reductions in Store for TRS-Care

As the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) reported last night, The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees met yesterday and approved several changes to the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program that will go into effect in September of this year.

It is the first time in 12 years that TRS has introduced a benefit reduction to TRS-Care.

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Health Care Crisis Results in TRS-Care Benefit Reductions; New Medicare Advantage Provider Approved

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees adopted numerous plan design changes to the TRS-Care program. These changes include increased deductibles, increased out-of-pocket maximum costs, new convenience fees for local pharmacy prescription drug fills and new rules on Medicare D.

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"A Helping Hand" Available for Retirees in Need

The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF), the charitable arm of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA), has been busy this spring delivering grants to classroom teachers all across Texas and scholarships to future educators.

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Bill to Replace Windfall Elimination Provision Reaches 100 Cosponsors

Members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) have been contacting their congressmen and sharing information about HR 711, the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act, with their friends and family living in Texas and other states since the bill was introduced by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands).

TRTA is pleased to report that the bill now has 100 cosponsors, with 27 cosponsors from Texas!

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Primary Runoff Elections Early Voting Starts Today!

Today, May 16, marks day one of early voting for the Texas Primary Runoff Elections! Many elections in Texas, particularly for seats in the Texas Senate and House, are decided during the Primary Election and not during the November General Election.

ATTENTION TRTA MEMBERS IN DISTRICTS WITH A RUNOFF: The power is in your hands! Many of these seats can be decided by the educator population in these districts. The recent decision by the Texas Supreme Court was a blow to public education and it demonstrates the absolute need to elect legislators who care about educators, public education and retired school employees! Contact your friends, fellow retirees and local ISD leaders, and ask whom they may be voting for and why. Make your commitment to voting by electing people who care about the issues we believe in.

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TRS Board of Trustees Meets, Pressure on TRS-Care Fund Escalates

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees met today, May 13, in Austin to discuss various topics, including potential premium and plan design alternatives for TRS-Care. The retiree health benefits program includes the three standard plans (Tiers 1, 2 and 3), as well as the fully-insured Medicare Advantage Plans and the Medicare Part D Plans.

TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie updated the trustees on the progress of the TRS-Care interim legislative committee and the status of the TRS-Care fund balance. Guthrie stated that “we are cutting it very close on the ending fund balance for TRS-Care for fiscal year 2017.” 

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Primary Runoff Elections Coming Soon!

Thousands of voters turned out for the Texas Primary Election on Super Tuesday. According to the Texas Tribune, “more than 4.2 million Texans turned out to vote in the Republican and Democratic primary presidential elections, about 30 percent of registered voters.” We know that many of our members and their fellow retirees were a part of this dedicated group of people!

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