Special Session Update: Legislative Hearings for Education, TRS Issues Begin

Published date: 7/21/2017

Members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) know that it has been a busy week! The first called special session of the 85th Legislature began on Tuesday, July 18, and by the early morning hours of July 20, Governor Greg Abbott announced that TRS-Care funding had been added to the special session call.

Because the special session lasts for just thirty days, items on Governor Abbott’s list will be addressed quickly. Committee meetings will be held even on weekends as our state legislators work to pass legislation on approximately twenty different issues.

Senate Finance: Saturday, July 22 at 1:00 p.m.

This weekend, the Senate Finance Committee will meet to discuss Senate Bill 19 by Senator Jane Nelson (R – Flower Mound). SB 19 relates to bonuses and salaries for public school classroom teachers and state assistance for the Texas Public School Employees Group Insurance Program, including TRS-Care. To read the full text of the bill, please click here.

TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee will be testifying on SB 19 this Saturday when the Senate Finance Committee meets at 1:00 p.m. in room E1.036 of the Texas Capitol. At that time, a link will be made available to view the meeting live online from this webpage. (Please note the video live feed of the meeting will not be available until a few minutes before the meeting begins).

House Appropriations: Tuesday, July 25 at 10:00 a.m.

TRTA also expects bills to be heard at next Tuesday’s meeting of the House Appropriations Committee. Appropriations will meet on July 25 at approximately 10:00 a.m. after the full House has adjourned or recessed. The committee will meet in room E1.030 of the Texas Capitol.

A live webcast of the meeting will be made available from this webpage once the meeting begins. Tim Lee expects to testify on this day. TRTA will provide more news about what bills have been added to the meeting agenda as soon as the information is made available.

More to Come!

Members, it is vital to stay tuned throughout special session as bills move through the legislative process at a breakneck pace! TRTA will be calling on its members to make phone calls and send emails as bills addressing TRS-Care and cost-of-living increases are placed on committee agendas.

TRTA knows that retired educators are frustrated and scared after the changes made to the TRS-Care program during Regular Session. While saving the program was essential, it does not take away the sting of the financial burdens that will hit retiree pocketbooks in January 2018.

Many legislators have filed bills to help retirees during the Special Session. While retirees are grateful that their concerns have been heard, they also know that nothing can be accomplished if the Senate and the House cannot come to an agreement on HOW to help retirees.

Right now, funding avenues for TRS-Care between the House and the Senate differ significantly. We must continue to contact our legislators throughout Special Session and ensure that not only are bills filed, they are also passed!

Here are a few bills to watch as special session continues:

HB 20 Author: Ashby | Darby | VanDeaver | Zerwas | Howard
  Last Action: 07/20/2017 H Referred to Appropriations: Jul 20 2017 10:40AM
  Caption: Relating to an appropriation of money from the economic stabilization fund to decrease health insurance premiums and deductibles for certain health benefit plans administered by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

 

HB 76 Author: Darby | Guillen | Oliveira
  Last Action: 07/20/2017 H Referred to Appropriations: Jul 20 2017 10:40AM
  Caption: Relating to a supplemental appropriation for Teacher Retirement System of Texas retiree health.

 

HB 80 Author: Darby | Guillen | Oliveira
  Last Action: 07/20/2017 H Referred to Appropriations: Jul 20 2017 10:40AM
  Caption: Relating to a cost-of-living adjustment applicable to certain benefits paid by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

 

HB 151 Author: Gooden | Guillen | Thompson, Senfronia | Darby | Cook
  Last Action: 07/20/2017 H Referred to Appropriations: Jul 20 2017 4:20PM
  Caption: Relating to the administration of certain group benefits by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas; making an appropriation.
 
HB 181 Author: Guillen
  Last Action: 07/20/2017 H Referred to Appropriations: Jul 20 2017 4:20PM
  Caption: Relating to the salary and retirement benefits paid to certain teachers employed by or retired from public schools.
 
HB 193 Author: Ashby
  Last Action: 07/18/2017 H Filed
  Caption: Relating to an appropriation of money from the economic stabilization fund to decrease health insurance premiums and deductibles for certain health benefit plans administered by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
 
HB 246 Author: Hernandez
  Last Action: 07/21/2017 H Referred to Pensions: Jul 21 2017 10:40AM
  Caption: Relating to a cost-of-living increase applicable to benefits paid by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
 
HB 260 Author: Martinez, "Mando"
  Last Action: 07/20/2017 H Filed
  Caption: Relating to a cost-of-living increase applicable to benefits paid by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

 

SB 19 Author: Nelson | Campbell | Estes | Huffman | Hughes | et al.
  Last Action: 07/22/2017 S Scheduled for public hearing on . . .
  Caption: Relating to bonuses and salaries for public school classroom teachers and state assistance for the Texas Public School Employees Group Insurance Program.

 

SB 97 Author: Perry
  Last Action: 07/23/2017 S Scheduled for public hearing on . . .
  Caption: Relating to the dedication of a portion of state lottery proceeds to the funding of salary increases and bonuses for experienced public school classroom teachers and costs associated with school district teacher retirement contributions.

Thank You

Thank you for your membership to TRTA! TRTA has more than 82,000 members, but there are more than 350,000 TRS retirees. That means hundreds of thousands of TRS retirees are not involved in the largest retiree organization advocating for their TRS benefits.

To improve funding for TRS-Care, we need as many retirees as possible to join TRTA and stand with us!
 
It is vital that you join TRTA today! If you already are a member, please ask your fellow retirees to join. Many retirees are still unaware of the impending TRS-Care changes! Let’s all work together to improve retirement benefits for current and future retirees.
 
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