Two weeks ago, members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) were excited to hear about the Texas Senate’s intention to fully fund the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program shortfall. As you may know, the shortfall is expected to reach nearly $770 million.

The Texas House of Representatives passed its version of the budget, which included appropriations for funding the shortfall, via House Bill 2 a few weeks ago. Over 1,000 public education retirees attended the TRTA Day at the Capitol event on Wednesday, April 8 and filled the Senate gallery and chamber with loud cheers over the announcement from Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Senator Jane Nelson that the Senate plans to do the same. Watch a great video showcasing public education retirees from TRTA Day at the Capitol!

The Senate continues to finalize its version of the supplemental funding bill, which is where funds for the TRS-Care shortfall will be included. TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee, Legislative Coordinator Bill Barnes and Retirement Consultant Ronnie Jung are visiting with legislators daily in the Texas Capitol to ensure that our members’ health care program is protected!

Once the Senate concludes its budget process, it is likely that a conference committee of both Senators and Representatives will be appointed to finalize a budget that both houses can agree upon.

Additionally, the House Pensions Committee, led by Chairman Dan Flynn, is discussing a variety of bills, including those impacting the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). TRTA is meeting with key leaders in the Texas House to encourage hearings for several bills supported by our membership, including House Bill 1967 (Keffer), which would provide for a supplemental payment (known as a 13th check) for retirees. TRTA is also supporting House Bill 3541 (Darby), which if passed would give a permanent raise to annuitants who retired between September 2004 and August 2013.

As the 84th Legislative Session proceeds, we ask our members to remain vigilant, as action on any of these items could be pending any day! We will need your help to contact legislators and keep the momentum going!

TRTA is walking the halls of the Capitol every day, attending one-on-one meetings with committee chairmen and working with active teacher groups on issues that affect stakeholders in every aspect of education. We appreciate your hard work and positive energy as we strive to make this session a successful one for all of our retired school personnel!

Thank You!

Please be sure to stay tuned into the Inside Line throughout the 84th Legislative Session, as we will be bringing you all the latest updates on our broad legislative agenda, including any bills concerning TRS-Care, the continued funding of the TRS pension trust fund, pension increases for all TRS retirees, and also congressional issues such as the WEP and GPO.

Thank you for your membership in the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA). If you are not a member of TRTA and want more information about joining, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650. Follow us on Facebook! Visit our YouTube channel for regular video updates.