Blog

22 Apr
0

Looking Forward to a Busy Week

Executive Summary:

  • HB 9 headed to the House floor.
  • Please keep calling (1.888.674.3788) and emailing your Representatives asking for their support of SB 12!
  • TRS-Care “golden ticket” bill and return to work bills to be heard in committees.

The Texas House has placed HB 9 on the calendar for April 24. HB 9 relates to the Teacher Retirement System’s (TRS) pension fund and a potential 13thcheck for retirees. HB 9 is the same bill as SB 12, which was delayed last week, and SB 12 will be eligible for consideration again in the House on April 25.

The finish line for the legislative session is in sight. The House has signaled that it wants to ensure that the TRS pension fund becomes actuarially sound and provides a 13thcheck to retirees.

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) has created an action alert for its members to contact legislators. It’s very important to let legislators know that putting as much funding towards retirees as possible is of the utmost importance!

Meanwhile, the House Pensions, Investments and Financial Services (PIFS) committee will be holding a hearing on HB 2567. HB 2567 by Giovanni Capriglione (R – Southlake) allows for a one-time opportunity for retirees who left TRS-Care, the state-run health care program for retirees, to return. Several representatives worked with TRTA to file the legislation, and it represents the only legislation heard by the PIFS committee related to TRS-Care this session.

Last week, the PIFS committee passed two other retiree-related bills out of committee, and both bills are on their way to be debated in the House.

HB 2227 by Rep. Gene Wu (D – Houston) would allow those who retired by Aug. 31, 2018 to return to work full time without having to observe a 12-month break in service, and it lessens the penalties for minor violations in return to work laws.

Another bill relating to return to work is HB 2929 by Rep. Dan Flynn (R – Canton). Flynn’s bill would create a more member-friendly appeals process when a retiree disagrees with a TRS decision.

Stay tuned to the Inside Line as these bills continue to develop! We need to finish this session strong to get as much help for retirees as much as possible!

Thank You

Thank you for your commitment to TRTA. Many bills are in motion that can positively impact your retirement! It’s a very important time to stay tuned to the Inside Line, as there will be multiple updates from now until the end of session in May.

Be sure to like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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17 Apr
0

Senate Bill 12 Postponed in House Until Next Week

Executive Summary:

  • At 3:30 PM (CDT) TRTA’s Tim Lee and Bill Barnes will hold a Facebook Live event answering member questions!
  • Please keep calling (1.888.674.3788) and emailing your Representatives asking for their support of SB 12!
  • SB 12 delayed by one week in the Texas House
  • The bill’s author is using the time to refine the bill

Earlier this week, members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) were informed that debate would occur and a vote would be taken on the House version of Senate Bill 12 (SB 12). The bill, which was going to be heard on Tuesday, April 16, has now been postponed.

Be sure to tune in today at 3:30 PM (CDT) to TRTA’s Facebook page for a Facebook Live event with Tim Lee and Bill Barnes. They will be answering member questions. The broadcast will also be available afterwards on the Facebook page in the videos section.

SB 12 is the Senate’s version of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) actuarial soundness bill. SB 12 passed the Senate with a vote of 31-0 in favor of the bill on March 25 and was then sent to the House Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee (PIFS) in early April.

SB 12 is now on the schedule in the Texas House for next week on Thursday, April 25. The bill’s author opted to postpone SB 12, allowing another week to work on the bill.

As we get closer to the end of the legislative session, strategic decision-making can sometimes lead to delays in a bill’s progress. This does not mean, however, that SB 12 will not continue through the legislative process and receive a vote.

TRTA members know the legislative session is full of twists and turns and nothing should be taken for granted. We also know that now is not the time to give up hope, as we feel strongly that Chairman Greg Bonnen is working hard to make sure TRS and TRS retirees benefit as much as possible under his bill. It is certainly possible that any changes made to the bill over the next week will improve it.

TRTA is steadfast in its support of the House and Senate and the work they are doing to ensure solvency of the TRS pension fund and provide retirees with a benefit increase this session.

The House plan for SB 12 in its present form:

  • Makes the TRS pension system actuarially sound by increasing the state contribution rate only and does not increase the contributions percentages for active employees or TRS-covered employers who do not pay Social Security.
  • The state contribution would increase to 7.8 percent in 2020 and 8.05 percent in 2021 on its way to an eventual increase to an 8.8 percent contribution rate by 2025.
  • Provides for a one-time supplemental payment no later than September 2020 in the amount of the member’s regular monthly annuity, not to exceed $2,400. By comparison, the Senate version of the bill caps the payment at $500.
  • Provides for an overall biennial appropriation of state funds at $1.4 billion to pay for the increased state contribution percentage and the one-time supplemental payment.

Now is the time for TRTA members to reassert their support for SB 12 and ask House members to keep retiree issues in the forefront of legislative action. Though many retirees are anxious to see SB 12 move forward, it is important to understand and support the need for ongoing discussion and potential refinement or improvement.

TRTA remains eager to hear about the bill’s development and looks forward to its favorable support from the Texas House. We strongly support increased funding to the TRS pension fund, and we know that many retirees are in desperate need of a supplemental payment or other benefit increase. We support any financial increases that will help TRS retirees. TRTA encourages passage and a strong commitment from legislators to vote favorably on the House’s version of the SB 12 plan.

Send an email to your Representative today asking for their support of SB 12!

Thank You

Thank you for your commitment to TRTA. Many bills are in motion that can positively impact your retirement! It’s a very important time to stay tuned to the Inside Line, as there will be multiple updates from now until the end of session in May.

Be sure to like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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15 Apr
0

Senate Bill 12 on House Calendar for April 16

Executive Summary

The Texas House of Representatives will debate and vote on the House version of Senate Bill 12tomorrow, Tuesday, April 16. As members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) may know, SB 12 is the Senate’s version of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) actuarial soundness bill. The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 31-0 in favor of the bill on March 25 and was then sent to the House Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee (PIFS) in early April.

The House PIFS Committee made several changes to the original version of SB 12. TRTA encourages passage and a strong commitment from legislators to vote favorably on the House’s version of the plan.

The House plan for SB 12:

  • Makes the TRS pension system actuarially sound by increasing the state contribution rate only and does not increase the contributions percentages for active employees or TRS-covered employers who do not pay Social Security.
    • The state contribution would increase to 7.8 percent in 2020 and 8.05 percent in 2021 on its way to an eventual increase to an 8.8 percent contribution rate by 2025.
  • Provides for a one-time supplemental payment no later than September 2020 in the amount of the member’s regular monthly annuity, not to exceed $2,400. By comparison, the Senate version of the bill caps the payment at $500.
  • Provides for an overall biennial appropriation of state funds at $1.4 billion to pay for the increased state contribution percentage and the one-time supplemental payment.

Use our Action Alert here!

TRTA fully supports the House version of SB 12 as it meets the goal of raising the base funding by providing a permanent increase in contributions to the pension fund. The TRS pension system will reach the definition of actuarial soundness required in statute to provide retirees with a benefit increase if SB 12 passes. The bill also provides a one-time payment to retirees, which covers the average increase in health care costs from last session for the majority of retirees.

Please call your Representative today and tell them:

  • Thank you for paying attention to the needs of retired Texas educators;
  • Please vote for and pass the House version of SB 12; and
  • Please do all you can to support the $2400 payment and not a lower amount in budget negotiations.

Thank You

Thank you for your commitment to TRTA. Many bills are in motion that can positively impact your retirement! It’s a very important time to stay tuned to the Inside Line, as there will be multiple updates from now until the end of session in May.

Be sure to like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Read More