Legislative Updates

House Speaker Straus Emphasizes Importance of Retiree Health Care for State Budget

Earlier this week, Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus released a letter to the members of the House Appropriations Committee regarding his concerns for the state budget and the many factors that must be considered during the 85th Legislative Session that begins in January 2017.

Of those concerns are the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program. Straus stated that “even with the critical infusion of funding to TRS-Care last session, a sustainable, long-term solution is still needed.”

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TRTA Hosts Successful 63rd Annual Convention

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) hosted its 63rd annual convention this week in Houston at the Westin Galleria. More than 1,000 members convened to enjoy fellowship, receive vital training from state counterparts and conduct the business of the association.

One of many highlights of the three-day event, Congressman Kevin Brady (R – The Woodlands) stopped by during the convention Opening Ceremonies to discuss his bill, H.R. 711, with attendees. Brady was greeted with the voices of 1,000 public education retirees singing happy birthday to him before he spoke about his years-long journey trying to repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). In a recent news article, Brady states that he is “cautiously optimistic” that the bill will pass this year. To learn more about the WEP and HR 711, visit this page.

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TRTA 63rd Annual Convention Starts This Weekend!

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is finalizing plans for the 63rd Annual TRTA Convention to be held in Houston April 10-12, 2016. More than 1,000 retirees are registered for the event already, which is taking place at the Westin Galleria on 5060 West Alabama.

This year’s theme, “Hearts of Texas: TRTA Proud,” focuses on the strength and dedication of TRTA’s 257 local units and their homegrown, grassroots advocacy. Late registration for the Convention is open online, and will be available onsite beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 10. To view the full convention schedule, please click here.

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TRS-Care Joint Committee Meets as TRTA Hosts Rally at Capitol

“I’m just chock-full of good news today,” joked Teacher Retirement System (TRS) Executive Director Brian Guthrie after eliciting several prolonged sighs from members of the TRS-Care Joint Committee.

The TRS-Care Joint Committee is a sub-committee of the Texas Legislature charged with studying the TRS-Care health insurance program. The committee is comprised of three Senators and four Representatives, who heard testimony for three hours concerning TRS-Care’s financial instability.

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Houston WEP Rally and TRS-Care Hearing This Week

TRTA is preparing for an important meeting this week about the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program. As you may have read in the Inside Line, the hearing will be held this Wednesday, March 30 at 2:30 p.m. in the Texas Capitol in room E1.028.

March 30 will be the first of several meetings of the TRS-Care study group. We are encouraging TRTA members to attend this meeting, as well as all others. 

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New TRTATV Episode: ‪HR 711 Update and TRS-Care Meeting Upcoming

The Texas Retired Teachers Association’s (TRTA) lobbying efforts are being felt at both a state and national level. On Tuesday, Tim Lee, TRTA’s Executive Director, and Ronnie Jung, TRTA’s Pensions Consultant, attended the U.S. House of Ways and Means Committee hearing on The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act (HR 711).

HR 711 proposes to repeal the current Windfall Elimination Provision and replace it with a newer, fairer formula. Lee testified about the importance of changing the Windfall Elimination Provision, which deprives millions of retired educators, firefighters, police officers and other public workers of their Social Security earnings.

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Ways and Means Committee Members Discuss Future of WEP

The U.S. House of Ways and Means Committee discussed propositions to alter a Social Security provision known as the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) today. The WEP is an unfair formula that was enacted 1983. It prevents public workers such as educators, firefighters and police officers who pay into state pension plans from receiving their entire sum of Social Security earnings.

For many members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA), the WEP has long stood as a barrier to receiving the retirement benefits that they earned through working in other professions that paid into Social Security.

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Tim Lee to Testify at House of Ways and Means Committee Tomorrow

The Executive Director of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA), Tim Lee, is scheduled to testify to the U.S. House of Ways and Means Committee tomorrow at 9AM CDT. You will be able to watch the meeting via the committee’s website.

The committee will be discussing a bill that would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), a harmful formula that withholds Social Security earnings from retired educators, police officers and firefighters. The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act (HR 711) would repeal the WEP and replace it with a newer, fairer formula. TRTA has been given the privilege of representing retirees on this important topic. 

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Ways and Means Committee Set to Discuss Windfall Elimination Provision Repeal

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) is an unfair Social Security formula that punishes many retired educators, firefighters and police officers. The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act (HR 711) is a bill supported by the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) that would repeal the current WEP and put money back into the pockets of our members.

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee will convene Tuesday, March 22 to discuss HR 711 and the negative effects of the WEP. HR 711 was introduced into the committee on Feb. 2, 2015, and is scheduled to have its first hearing after the bill received a recent flurry of support.

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TRS-Care Joint Committee Meeting to Be Held March 30, TRTA Members Encouraged to Attend

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is focused on the upcoming TRS-Care Joint Committee Meeting. As we mentioned in a recent Inside Line, the first meeting of the joint committee is planned for 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 in Room E1.028 (Hearing Room) of the Texas Capitol.

TRTA members are encouraged to attend! Progress on TRS-Care will happen in 2016 and it will happen quickly. TRTA needs your participation in every step of this process! 

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