Blog

10 May
0

SB 1458 is now in the Hands of the Texas House

SB 1458: Where We are Today and Where We Need to Go From Here

New TRTA Email Campaign to Texas House: Click Here!!!

As you may have read this week, Senate Bill 1458 passed out of the Texas Senate unanimously!We are grateful to Senator Robert Duncan, who worked tirelessly this session with TRTA and active educator groups to craft a bill that was acceptable by all groups.

Along with Senators Kirk Watson, Wendy Davis, and Royce West, Senator Duncan made important last-minute changes to improve the bill. To read the bill as it was passed, click here.

 

TRTA continues to find ways to improve the bill. We hope to find additional revenue to expand the cost-of-living increase to more retirees.

We know that many TRTA members are thrilled to see the first cost-of-living increase in 12 years, especially our most senior retirees. TRTA is also concerned, as our many of our members, that other retirees in need may not be included in this COLA. We are still working to adjust this benefit and include as many people as possible!

We appreciate the immense amount of phone calls and emails our members have sent in the past two weeks to encourage movement on SB 1458, but our work is not yet done! We must continue to call and email, more than ever, if we expect TRS to become actuarially sound and retirees to receive a cost-of-living increase!

Actuarial soundness is a goal we have been fighting to attain for a decade! It is THE hurdle we must overcome so that retirees can receive increases in the future.

Considering the attacks that public pension plans have suffered over the last two years, TRTA members have done an AMAZING job to get us this close to soundness! It is time to get this bill passed and make TRS better for all retired and active public school employees.

SB 1458 was received in the House, and has been referred to the Pensions Committee. Our next step is to move the bill out of the Pensions Committee so that it may heard on the House floor for a vote. We expect the bill to move out of committee as early as today.

Please help us reach this goal by calling (see information below) and emailing your Representatives. Let them know that the Texas Retired Teachers Association supports SB 1458 and it must be a TOP PRIORITY! We must pass SB 1458 NOW! We are running out of time this session!

Click here to send an email to your Representative!

Our work to support the bill is essential. A similar bill that impacted the Employees Retirement System (ERS) was killed in the House just last night. We cannot let this happen to SB 1458!

SB 1458 is the ONLY bill that can make our pension fund solvent and pave the path for future benefit increases for our retirees this session. The work we are doing today will have a tremendous long-term impact. If we do not put in the effort, the challenge will become exponentially greater as the new GASB accounting rules go into effect in 2014 (when our Legislature does not meet).

Thank you for being a member of TRTA and supporting our advocacy efforts. If you are not a member, and would like additional information about joining, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650 (or click here).

Please know that our primary purpose is to protect the TRS fund as a defined benefit plan for all educators…retired or active. It is our mission to improve benefits for TRS retirees. TRTA is 80,000 members strong. The louder our voice, the better our chances to help all retirees! Please join us in these efforts. We NEED YOU!

TRTA Contact Your Legislator Hotline

1.888.674.3788

Click Here to Learn who your Representative is!

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08 May
0

TRTA Members Are THE Difference, Let’s Keep Pushing

Action on SB 1458 Expected Soon!

Keep calling and Click here to make sure your voice is heard!

TRTA expects action today on Senate Bill 1458. Senator Robert Duncan, the author of the bill, continues to meet with stakeholders to improve the bill and address concerns of both retired and active school employees. TRTA is also working directly with many of our friends on the Democratic side and we know they are very supportive of helping TRTA members and all retired and active school employees!

TRTA is emphasizing the need for actuarial soundness, help for current TRS retirees, protection of the defined benefit plan for all current and future TRS retirees, higher state contributions, and a balanced approach for our active education employee/employer friends.

All stakeholders are working towards these goals, and we commend Senator Duncan for his continued support. We believe many others are helping Senator Duncan and we should learn more soon about the influence all our Senator friends are having on this important legislation.

As we said yesterday, TRTA is not working against anyone! We need EVERYONE’s help.

This is our time: a chance to get the system on a path to soundness for years to come. Let’s tell every Senator we need their help!

This bill must continue to move through the legislative process in order to make the TRS pension fund actuarially sound and provide some retirees with financial help!

Below is a list of all Senators and their Capitol office phone numbers. You can also reach your Senators by using our toll-free hotline: 1.888.674.3788.

Do not think of any Senator as “opposed,” as all of them want to help. Our approach is to educate any uncommitted Senators, and let them know we are depending on them to help TRS and take advantage of this legislation’s many good qualities.

In addition to calling, let’s keep up the emails! TRTA members have now sent another 10,000 emails since late Monday! KEEP THEM COMING!

Click here to make sure your voice is heard!

 

Kevin P. Eltife R 512-463-0101
Bob Deuell R 512-463-0102
Robert Nichols R 512-463-0103
Tommy Williams R 512-463-0104
Charles Schwertner R 512-463-0105
Sylvia Garcia D 512-463-0106
Dan Patrick R 512-463-0107
Ken Paxton R 512-463-0108
Kelly Hancock R 512-463-0109
Wendy R. Davis D 512-463-0110
Larry Taylor R 512-463-0111
Jane Nelson R 512-463-0112
Rodney Ellis D 512-463-0113
Kirk Watson D 512-463-0114
John Whitmire D 512-463-0115
John Carona R 512-463-0116
Joan Huffman R 512-463-0117
Glenn Hegar R 512-463-0118
Carlos I. Uresti D 512-463-0119
Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa D 512-463-0120
Judith Zaffirini D 512-463-0121
Brian Birdwell R 512-463-0122
Royce West D 512-463-0123
Troy Fraser R 512-463-0124
Donna Campbell R 512-463-0125
Leticia Van De Putte D 512-463-0126
Eddie Lucio, Jr. D 512-463-0127
Robert Duncan R 512-463-0128
Jose R. Rodriguez D 512-463-0129
Craig Estes R 512-463-0130
Kel Seliger R 512-463-0131

Thank you for being a member of TRTA and serving as a vital advocate for our statewide team! You are making a difference!

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08 May
0

Senate Votes Unanimously for SB 1458

Breaking News: Senate Votes on SB 1458: 30-Yes, 0-No

TRTA Advocacy and Collaboration with Senate and Active Employee Organizations structures an even better deal! TRTA and Many Active Employee/Employer Groups Support Final Version of Bill!

TRTA has been working diligently with all Senate members and active employee stakeholders to pass SB 1458 and get TRS on track to being actuarially sound and protect the long-term health of our TRS defined benefit plan.

This legislation was finalized and voted unanimously out of the Senate this afternoon. Click here to email a “Thank You” note to your Senator!

The bill’s chief author, Senator Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock), has made it a priority to engage all the stakeholders and craft the best bill possible. Helping Chairman Duncan were Senators Kirk Watson (D-Austin), Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), and Royce West (D-Dallas).

TRTA has been an integral participant in these discussions. These efforts have paid off! The newest version of SB 1458 will:

  • Increase the State’s contribution to TRS in BOTH years of the biennium to 6.8 FY 2014 and 6.8 in FY 2015;
  • This will add almost $100 million more to TRS pension fund;
  • TRS-Care will receive approximately $80 million more in funding;
  • Active member contribution increases to TRS will be phased-in over two sessions. The rates will be:
  • 6.4 in FY 2014;
  • 6.7 in FY 2015;
  • 7.2 in FY 2016; and,
  • 7.7 in FY 2017.
  • School district contribution for non-coordinated Social Security districts remains at 1.5 percent beginning in FY 2015;
  • New minimum age 62 with a 5% adjustment will remain for non-vested TRS employees as of September 1, 2014.

Other major parts of SB 1458 remain unchanged:

  • TRS will be actuarially sound;
  • TRS retirees who were retired as of 1999 or before will receive a 3% cost of living increase;
  • The monthly COLA provides a cap that limits annuity increase to $100/month;
  • Future increases will be more likely with the fund’s improving actuarial status;
  • Requires a future retiree to meet the Rule of 80 with minimum age 62 in order to participate in TRS-Care II or III.
  • This provision grandfathers any current active member who meets the Rule of 70 (combination of years of service and age equal 70 or more) or the active member has at least 25 years of service as of September 1, 2014;
  • Existing retirees participating in TRS-Care are not affected by this change.

TRTA is glad to join nearly all other employee/employer stakeholder organizations in support of SB 1458!

We appreciate their participation and willingness to work together to help ALL TRS members, both retired and active!

TRTA members have been communicating with their Senators and asking them to support this vital legislation. Today is a great VICTORY for all TRTA members as we make progress to getting TRS fund actuarially sound and protecting it for future generations of retirees!

TRTA supports this legislation and all efforts to make TRS actuarially sound so that ALL TRS retirees will benefit with increases in their retirement benefits!

Please call your Senator and thank them for their support! This is VITAL! TRTA members have sent over 50,000 emails in a week to ask for Senate support. The phone calls have been very heavy.

Now, the Senate has responded with unanimous vote. Let’s make sure they know we appreciate their hard work!

Click here to email a “Thank You” note to your Senator!

TRTA wants to THANK ALL OUR MEMBERS FOR THEIR HARD WORK. YOU HAVE DONE A GREAT JOB! TRTA efforts will now carry over to the Texas House where the bill moves now for additional action.

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