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05 May
0

TRTA Action Alert: We Need Your Help to Protect TRS Funding

TRTA Action Alert–Contact Your Senator

 

The Senate may take up a “fiscal-matters” bill tomorrow dealing with TRS and the TRS-Care fund. Senator Robert Duncan has authored SB 1666, SB 1667, and SB 1671. These bills all address issues pertaining to TRS. These bills may also be used to move a funding plan forward that is designed to maintain TRS-Care health insurance premiums in the coming biennium.
Please click the link below and send an email to your Senator asking them to support Senator Robert Duncan’s TRS funding plan. If you would like to call your Senator, please use the “TRTA Call Your Legislator Hotline: 1.888.674.3788. Ask your Senator to support Senator Duncan’s TRS funding plan and keep retiree health care costs from increasing 80 percent .”
Again, the bills that Senator Duncan may use for this important action may come up tomorrow (Friday, May 6, 2011). Senator Duncan’s plan will fund TRS-Care in a way that helps prevent a major premium increase for retirees this coming biennium. This plan will also restore over $100 million in funding to the TRS pension trust fund. We must support Senator Duncan and ask the Senate to vote for retired public education employees. (Bills that may be used for this effort include SB 1666, SB 1667, and SB 1671. It is most likely that SB 1671, which should come up tomorrow, is the target bill for Senator Duncan’s work to protect TRS and TRS-Care)

You may also want to call your Senator on Friday and ask them to support Senator Duncan’s efforts to protect the TRS pension and health care programs. Please use the “TRTA Call Your Legislator Hotline: 1.888.674.3788.” The Capitol Switchboard office hours are from 8 AM to 5 PM M-F.

Thank you for your support on short notice. Your emails are making a BIG difference in both the Senate and the House. As a quick update, the House fiscal matters bill, and the Gooden/Villarreal amendments have not come up for a vote and these bills have been postponed. It now may be next week before the House takes up these bills. We will keep you updated.
Thank you again for all you are doing to help. If you are not a member, but would like to join TRTA in our efforts to protect your TRS pension plan and TRS-Care health insurance program, please contact our office at 1.800.880.1650 and we will gladly answer any questions you may have.

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04 May
0

TRTA Action Alert-Still Time to Call and Email

TRTA Members Still Have Time to Call or Email
 
A vote on the House “fiscal matters” bill was postponed yesterday, but will come up today. HB 3639 is used to make state policy copacetic with the House version of the Texas budget. One of the provisions in this legislation, however, suggests a permanent DECREASE in state funding for the TRS-Care health insurance program.
 
State Representative Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) is working to resolve this situation. He is offering an amendment to HB 3639 that will make this reduced state contribution to TRS-Care a TEMPORARY, one biennium change. Representative Gooden is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and knows the hardships that retirees are currently facing due to no cost of living increases in 10 years.
 
TRTA has been informed that State Representative Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio) also is working on an amendment to resolve the TRS-Care funding issue. Representative Villarreal is a long-time supporter of public education retirees and a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
 
Representatives Gooden and Villarreal are working with TRTA to ensure this situation is not used to create a new, permanent funding requirement for TRS-Care.
 
TRTA members are encouraged to call their legislators using the TRTA “Call Your Legislator Hotline” (1-888-674-3788) and ask them to “support the Gooden and Villarreal amendments on HB 3639 to protect TRS health care” (sorry, there are no bill numbers for amendments to HB 3639). If you are not sure who your state representative is, please click here(http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us).
 
In addition, please send an email in support of the Gooden and Villarreal Amendments by clicking here.
 
Thank you for your help! We will keep you posted on this important amendment.
 
The Texas Senate will take up their version of the budget today. TRTA is working closely with Senators and asking them to support efforts by Senators Robert Duncan and Steve Ogden to provide higher funding for the TRS-Care program and the TRS pension Trust fund. Senator Duncan’s proposal is designed to keep TRS-Care premiums from increasing by as much as 80 percent. In addition, the proposal restores over $100 million in funding to the TRS pension trust fund.
 
This is a busy week with floor action in the House and budget work in the Senate. This may not be the last “Action Alert” this week. Your contributions are appreciated more than we can say.

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03 May
0

TRTA Action Alert May 3, 2011

TRTA Action Alert
 
TRTA Members Urged to Call House Members
 
The Texas House will take up a “fiscal matters” bill today. HB 3639 is used to make state policy copacetic with the House version of the Texas budget. One of the provisions in this legislation, however, suggests a permanent DECREASE in state funding for the TRS-Care health insurance program.
 
As you know, the current state contribution required by Texas statute is 1 percent of the aggregate active teacher payroll. The Texas House passed a budget reducing the TRS-Care contribution to .5 percent of the aggregate active teacher payroll.
 
While TRTA is still working to restore the funding to TRS-Care in the Texas Senate, the House is now voting on the language to make statute in compliance with their budget. HB 3639 is written with language that would permanently change the TRS-Care contribution from 1 percent to .5 percent.
 
TRTA does not support the reduction of TRS-Care funding from 1 percent to .5 percent. While this position is unchanged, we also must make clear that a permanent reduction in state obligation to this vital health insurance program must NOT be instituted.
 
State Representative Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) is working to resolve this situation. He is offering an amendment to HB 3639 that will make this reduced state contribution to TRS-Care a TEMPORARY, one biennium change. Representative Gooden is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and knows the hardships that retirees are currently facing due to no cost of living increases in 10 years.
 
TRTA has been informed that State Representative Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio) also is working on an amendment to resolve the TRS-Care funding issue. Representative Villarreal is a long-time supporter of public education retirees and a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
 
Representatives Gooden and Villarreal are working with TRTA to ensure this situation is not used to create a new, permanent funding requirement for TRS-Care.
 
TRTA members are encouraged to call their legislators using the TRTA “Call Your Legislator Hotline” (1-888-674-3788) and ask them to “support the Gooden and Villarreal amendments on HB 3639 to protect TRS health care” (sorry, there are no bill numbers for amendments to HB 3639). If you are not sure who your state representative is, please click here(http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us).
 
In addition, please send an email in support of the Gooden and Villarreal Amendments by clicking here.
 
Thank you for your help! We will keep you posted. This is a busy week with floor action in the House and budget work in the Senate. This may not be the last “Action Alert” this week. Your contributions are appreciated more than we can say.

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