25 May

Senate Takes Final Vote SB 1458

Senate Adopts Conference Committee Report on SB 1458!

House Action Pending, Budget Debate Ongoing

The Texas Senate took final action unanimously adopting the conference committee report on SB 1458. Chairman Duncan and Senate/House conferees agreed on the following provisions:

  • Keeps the 2004 and before cost of living increase–Almost 200,000 TRS retirees slated to receive the 3 percent cost of living increase;
  • TRS will be actuarially sound this coming biennium;
  • Sets up additional funding for TRS in the coming biennium;
  • Total state and employer contributions to TRS provides over $530 million more for TRS in the coming biennium;
  • State budget allocations will hold school districts harmless for the FY 2015 contributions;
  • Active educator contributions will increase over time (6.4% FY 2014; 6.7% FY 2015; 7.2% FY 2016; and 7.7% FY 2017);
  • Bill will maintain grandfather provision for all vested (those with five years of service or more) employees as of 9-1-2014 (allows an additional year for employees to vest);
  • Maintains the Rule of 80;
  • By making the the TRS fund sound, more retirees will be eligible for increases in the future.

The conferees did remove the amendment that grandfathered all existing TRS employees. That amendment also included a 13th check for all retirees. The agreed-to legislation simply did not have adequate actuarial value to include these two provisions. The good news is that this legislation will make the fund actuarially sound now. This was not even generally thought possible this session. But, TRTA members worked hard. We have achieved a great deal. Our TRS fund will be actuarially sound. Almost 200,000 retirees are slated to receive a 3 percent increase.

The House must still take action on SB 1458 before it can be sent to the Governor. With only one day left in the legislative session, TRTA staff and volunteers will be working to make sure this bill is finally passed. Please know that our TRTA Legislative Team is at the Captiol and is working for you until this bill sees final action!

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24 May

SB 1458 Conferees Named

TRTA Evening Update
SB 1458 Conferees Named
The Senate and House are now negotiating over the different versions of SB 1458. As you remember, the House added several amendments to the original version of SB 1458. One of those amendments added an expanded cost of living increase for TRS retirees. Other amendments provided language for a 13th check and various grandfather provisions for all TRS active employees.

The Senate conferees are: Duncan; Watson; Davis; Williams; and Seliger.

The House conferees are: Callegari, Chair; Alonzo; Branch; Allen; and Stephenson.

The conferees will prepare a report on the final negotiated version of SB 1458. Then, the Senate and House must vote to accept the bill. TRTA is working with all legislative members and our active educator friends to ensure the TRS fund is actuarially sound and that the most number of retirees are helped in this bill.

Please continue to call and thank your legislators for their ongoing efforts to ensure the TRS pension fund’s long-term solvency. The TRTA Contact Your Legislator Hotline is 1.888.674.3788.

Thank you for your continued support and action on this important bill. Time is running out, but please know that TRTA will work until the very last day of this 83rd Legislative Session to help make the TRS fund actuarially sound and provide retirees a much needed benefit increase.

On a final note, we are so grateful for those of you who have already renewed your membership in TRTA or joined as a new member. TRTA will have a special end-of-session wrap-up in the next issue of our membership news bulletin, The Voice. Be sure to renew your TRTA membership in your home-area local unit, or feel free to contact our office with any membership questions you may have (1.800.880.1650).

Our membership numbers are growing every day, but we still need your help. This legislation is very close to seeing final passage, and we will not rest until all stages of this bill are finalized! Together, we have worked to make this a good session for all current and future TRS retirees by helping make the fund actuarially sound and protecting the TRS defined benefit plan. Together, we are stronger. Together, we are the voice for all public education retirees.

Keep watching your email for more TRTA updates as we enter these final days of legislative session! THANK YOU!

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22 May

SB 1458 Continues to Move Through the Process

SB 1458 Continues to Progress

Senate Bill 1458, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) “actuarial soundness” bill, continues to move through the legislative process. As we mentioned in our previous update, several amendments that were added to SB 1458 as it was debated in the House of Representatives must be discussed and negotiated before the bill is finalized.

One such amendment expands the cost-of-living increase to TRS members who retired in 2004 or before. Other amendments that were adopted grandfather all non-vested active TRS employees from early-retirement penalties and provide retirees with a 13thcheck.

After the bill passed the House and was returned to the Senate for consideration, the Senate indicated that it did not concur with all of the amendments. This means the bill must now be negotiated in a conference committee.

The Senate has selected the following members to serve on the SB 1458 conference committee: Senators Robert Duncan, Wendy Davis, Kel Seliger, Kirk Watson and Tommy Williams. We expect the House conferees to be named sometime today.

TRTA will continue to meet this week with active educator groups and legislators to devise the final bill provisions.

Please know that TRTA will meet with Senate and House members to ensure that the cost-of-living increase provisions remain.

TRS Actuarial Soundness Bill and the State Budget

The Texas Legislature is in its final days. We have made big steps towards improving our TRS pension fund and helping over 195,000 TRS retirees. The fund’s improved condition will help ensure additional increases in the years to come.

The last two major legislative actions to ensure the actuarial soundness of the TRS fund and a raise for retirees is the acceptance of the SB 1458 conference committee report and the final passage of the state budget.

TRTA members are encouraged to remain in contact with their legislators and ask them to follow the leads of Senator Williams and Representative Pitts on the budget proposals, and Senator Duncan and Representative Callegari on the final adoption of the conference committee report on SB 1458. The TRTA Contact Your Legislator Hotline is 1.866.674.3788.

Click here to send an email to your legislators asking them to support the SB 1458 conference committee report!

Time is running out! We must work with our legislators to ensure that the actuarial soundness bill and budget are finally adopted. Please continue to check your emails or follow TRTA on Facebook for real-time updates on legislative progress.

Thank you for being such a vital part of our statewide, grassroots team! Without you and the input you have provided to your legislators, SB 1458 would not have passed. Now, for the first time in many years, retirees may receive some financial help and our TRS pension fund will be financially healthy for many years to come!

If you are not a member of TRTA and would like more information about joining, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650. TRTA membership is the most powerful voice in Texas protecting the TRS pension fund and working to help TRS retirees.

Our members have sent over 100,000 email messages to the Texas Legislature this session. We are strong, we are united, we are your voice! Please consider joining TRTA and help protect and improve your retirement and health care benefits. TRTA dues are $25 per year.

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