Houston WEP Rally and TRS-Care Hearing This Week

Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) is hosting a media event tomorrow to promote the progress on The Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act (HR 711). HR 711 is a bill that proposes to replace the current Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) with a newer, fairer formula.

The WEP rally will take place Tuesday, March 29 at 10:00 a.m. at the HFD Fire Station #84. The location address is 320 Gears Rd. Houston, Texas, 77067 (near Greens Rd. and 45). Parking is available on the street.

Congressman Brady’s office is encouraging Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) members from the greater Houston-area to attend this event. This is a great opportunity to draw media exposure to the issues surrounding the WEP, which unfairly penalizes public educators for their years of work in the classrooms. To learn more about the WEP and HR 711 visit this page.

Please RSVP for TRS-Care Hearing​

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.

If you plan to attend the hearing this Wednesday, please RSVP at info@trta.org no later than 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 29. TRTA will reserve a room and will provide lunch to those attending the hearing. We will congregate in room E2.002A between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Lunch will be served at noon.

Additionally, the House Pensions Committee and the Senate Committee on Finance are meeting. The House Pensions Committee is meeting at 10:00 a.m. in room E2.028. The Senate Committee on Finance is meeting at 9:30 a.m. in room E1.036. Members who arrive early for the TRS-Care Study Group meeting are also welcome to attend these meetings.

Representative Justin Rodriguez (D-San Antonio) will also join us before the TRS-Care hearing begins to share a few words.

TRTA is offering a $35 stipend to TRTA members who carpool together. Parking is available in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at 12th and San Jacinto streets. More information will be made available the day of the hearing in room E2.002A.

Please note that both the hearing and the meeting room for TRTA are in the Texas Capitol building in the extension. Please review the Capitol Building Guide to help you in locating these rooms.

More than 240,000 retired educators rely upon the system for their health insurance. However, TRS-Care is facing a continuing funding crisis. By 2017, TRS-Care could see a funding shortfall of $1.5 billion. If nothing is done, retirees under the health insurance program could see their premiums skyrocket.

Last year, TRTA successfully persuaded the Texas Legislature to put $768 million into TRS-Care. Your efforts and membership helped make a difference! This funding provided a stopgap to prevent premium increases and benefit reductions for retirees. Nonetheless, Texas legislators were well aware the $768 million did not solve the funding issue for TRS-Care.

TRS-Care’s funding is tied to active teacher payroll. Health care costs are increasing at a much greater rate than teacher payroll, so as these costs grow, the amount of funding in the health insurance program has fallen behind.

Acknowledging that the issue of TRS-Care would require greater effort to solve, the Legislature created a study group to analyze and discuss various options surrounding the program.

The legislative members named to this group are: Senators Joan Huffman (R-Houston) – Co-Chair, Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), and Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls); and Representatives Dan Flynn (R-Canton) – Co-Chair, Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), and Justin Rodriguez (D-San Antonio).

Thank You

TRTA and its members have the respect of both congressmen and legislators. Your membership is making a difference as we lobby here in Texas and at the U.S. Capitol. We will continue to bring you the latest updates on all issues involving retired educators.

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