Blog

25 Mar
0

RSVP for Zoom to the Capitol Today, Send Out Your Red Letters!

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is excited to see so many dedicated members sharing their photos and telling us their stories as we get closer to our legislative rally week, Zoom to the Capitol (April 5-6, 2021).

RSVP TODAY!

It is very important that all TRTA members RSVP to Zoom to the Capitol. If you want to participate in the events and receive the links to view our special sessions, including exclusive interviews with legislators, please RSVP today! CLICK HERE TO RSVP.

Please log in using your TRTA Member ID number (found on the back of The VOICE) and password. For most users, your password is trta123 (all lowercase, no spaces). If you need assistance resetting your password, please contact the membership department at membership@trta.org or call 1.800.880.1650.

We’re excited to share that Senator Eddie Lucio and Representative Giovanni Capriglione will appear on our live legislative panel on April 6 at 5:00 p.m. This will be an event you will not want to miss! Be sure to RSVP today so you don’t miss it!

Red Letter Campaign Full Speed Ahead!

We know some TRTA members have still not received their first quarter issue of The VOICE and are awaiting anxiously the arrival of their TRTA Red Letter Campaign materials. While all issues have been mailed, some delays in shipping may occur depending upon your local postal service.

If you are anxious to send a letter now, you may print the blank form letters for your Senator and your Representative and use a red envelope from the store to mail them in. Not sure who your Senator and Representative are? Please visit this link to look them up. If you reside outside of the state of Texas, please contact us at info@trta.org for suggestions on who to send your letter to.

Address for Senators:
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711-2068

Address for Representatives:
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910

However, even if your issue of The VOICE arrives late, we encourage you to still send in your letters! Yes, TRTA hopes to flood the Capitol with a sea of red letters during Zoom to the Capitol week, but we know your legislators want to hear from you and will be glad to receive your correspondence throughout the 87th Legislative Session. Your voice is important and telling your story in your words means a lot to the elected officials who serve you.

Don’t forget to snap a photo when you put your red letters in the mail and post them to Facebook with the hashtag #TRTARedLetterDay or to the TRTA app in the Red Letter Campaign forum. All members who participate via the TRTA app will be entered in a prize drawing to receive TRTA branded merchandise. Learn how to download the app here.

If you missed TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee explaining the Red Letter Campaign on Facebook, you can view the video here.

Donate Your Date Campaign Update 

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) new Donate Your Date campaign! TRTF has raise $4,500 since the campaign began on March 22. We enjoy receiving your heartfelt stories honoring a special moment in your lives. You can read more about the campaign in this Inside Line article or you may submit a donation online here.

Thank You!

Thank you for being a member of TRTA! Be sure to download the TRTA app to receive all of the latest legislative updates.

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24 Mar
0

Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services Committee Discusses TRS Sunset Bill

On March 24, 2021, the House Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services Committee (PIFS) met to discuss several bills, including HB 1585 by Representative Stan Lambert (R, Abilene). The bill reflects changes recommended by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission Staff Report.

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) worked closely with members of the commission throughout the sunset process, and all of TRTA’s recommendations to the commission were included in the final report. The recommendations were developed by TRTA’s Legislative Committee and detailed in TRTA’s public testimony.

TRTA has been pivotal during the evaluation of TRS and subsequent sunset staff review. Our recommendations to improve the agency may be found by clicking here. You may also read our update about the commission’s January 14 meeting by clicking here.

Rep. Lambert thorough work briefly laid out the tenets of the bill, stating that “TRS manages its trust fund well but needs to focus more on its members.” The bill, if passed, would also set the next sunset review date for TRS in 2033.

The bill covers a variety of issues, including requiring TRS to develop a communications and outreach plan to better help members with retirement inquiries, changes to return-to-work and appeals processes, and adding an ombudsman position that reports directly to the TRS Board of Trustees.

A committee substitute to the bill by Rep. Sergio Munoz was also discussed. The additional language clarifies that the ombudsman position assists both members AND retirees and states that disability retirees are not subject to employment after retirement penalties.

TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee testified in favor of the bill. Lee stated that the bill “deals with a major issue for our members, which is the loss of their benefits if they exceed employment after retirement rules.”

Lee also stated the importance of the ombudsman position, saying it will help the agency and retirees with advanced cases of resolution that need to occur.

The bill was left pending in committee.

Contact Your Legislators About a Possible COLA Today!

As our members know, there are many items on our legislative agenda this session, including pursuing a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for TRS retirees. Please be sure to send this URGENT ACTION ALERT to your State Senator and Representative asking them to co-sponsor the following bills:

  • SB 2092 – Sen. Hughes
  • HB 3214 – Rep. Capriglione
  • HB 3206 – Rep. Herrero

WEP Update

TRTA has received many emails from members asking about progress on eliminating the unfair Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). This issue continues to be at the top of our federal legislative agenda. TRTA has been working closely with members of Congress and will have an update with new information coming soon!

Stay tuned to the Inside Line for this important update in the coming weeks.

Thank You!

Thank you for being a member of TRTA! Be sure to download the TRTA app to receive all of the latest legislative updates.

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23 Mar
0

ACTION ALERT: Contact Your Legislators About Co-Sponsoring COLA Bills

Members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) heard from Executive Director Tim Lee on Friday about a potential cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)! Now is the time to take action on this important issue.

Click here to use the Action Alert to contact your legislators!

The following bills request a 6 percent increase for retirees and need as many co-sponsors as possible:

  • SB 2092 – Sen. Hughes
  • HB 3214 – Rep. Capriglione
  • HB 3206 – Rep. Herrero

TRTA members have spent years advocating for an improved funding policy on the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and legislators have responded. The door for a COLA is open! TRS has the financial ability to fund a COLA because the Texas Legislature followed through on promises made in 2019.

TRS retirees have not received a permanent annuity increase since 2013, and that COLA applied only to retirees who retired on or before August 31, 2004.

The annual payout for the COLA is less than one-third of what TRS pays out in external investment management fees and is about two-tenths of 1 percent of the value of investments and that amount decreases each year.

Help us pass COLA legislation by contacting your legislators! Ask them to be a co-sponsor by using our action alert.

RSVP to Zoom to the Capitol Today!

For now, please be sure to RSVP by clicking this link. Your RSVP ensures you will receive the Zoom meeting links for all live TRTA events being hosted during the week of April 5 and any virtual advocacy materials you may need!

To RSVP, please log in using your TRTA Member ID number (found on the back of The VOICE) and password. For most users, your password is trta123 (all lowercase, no spaces). If you need assistance resetting your password, please contact the membership department at membership@trta.org or call 1.800.880.1650.

Thank You

Thank you for being a member of TRTA! Be sure to download the TRTA app to receive all of the latest legislative updates.

Read More