Delayed Again

Thousands of TRTA members are emailing Texas House members urging them to vote “NO!” on the amendment to create HRA accounts for TRS-Care participants. Like many other bills, the bill with this amendment (SB 1811) has been delayed. The most recent news is that the Texas House will hear the bill tonight (Friday, May 20, 2011).

While ongoing delays are frustrating, the good news is TRTA members have additional time to email (Click here to send your email now) or call (1.888.674.3788)their Texas Representatives and ask them to vote “NO!” on the amendment creating HRA accounts for TRS-Care participants.

Thank you for your hard work! Your message is being heard.

Below is an update on several other TRTA issues this session. We are continuing to work for you and we appreciate your involvement.

·         TRS-Care Premiums—TRTA has worked all session to prevent TRS-Care premiums from increasing as much as 80 percent this coming biennium. While the Texas House offered a “cuts only” approach in their budget proposal on TRS-Care, the Senate worked with the “Duncan Plan” to restore vital funding and keep premiums from increasing. TRTA needs to see SB 1671 pass out of the House and we need to see the House agree to higher funding levels for TRS-Care.

·         TRS Pension Funding—Similar to TRS-Care funding, the Texas House budget proposal represented a “cuts only” approach to TRS pension trust fund. The Senate embraced the “Duncan Plan” that moved to restore over $100 million in additional funding to the pension fund.

·         SB 1671—This bill is now in the House and should be set on the calendar soon. SB 1671 is authored by Senator Duncan and contains the language necessary to increase funding for TRs and TRS-Care that the House originally reduced. The bill is being carried in the House by long-time supporter Representative Vicki Truitt.

·         Texas Budget—Many articles of the budget are already finalized and agreed to…except for Article III which is the Education section of the budget. It is also the section that contains funding for TRS. We are waiting to learn more about the final agreements on funding for TRS and TRS-Care.

·         HB 2120—Legislation authored by Representative Doug Miller to create an “open” member seat on the TRS Board. The bill is set for Senate local and uncontested calendar next week.

·         HB 3542—Legislation authored by Representative Larry Gonzales that would provide retirees with a supplemental payment using investment earnings and the fulfillment other conditions designed to protect the TRS fund. The House approved the measure on a vote of 136-1, but the bill has not been set for a hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

·         HB 3747—Legislation providing for the direct election of member trustees on the TRS Board. The bill passed out of the House, but is has not been posted for hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

TRTA will continue to update as we move into the last week of legislative session.