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05 Apr
0

TRTA 2020 Updates, Good News, and More!

As members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) may know, our 67th State Convention which was scheduled for this week in Corpus Christi was cancelled due to concerns over the health and well-being of our attendees in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Despite this cancellation, TRTA is still providing the resources, information, and good news to our members we had planned to share at convention here in the Inside Line! While we are saddened that we will not be seeing our beloved members face-to-face this year, we are thinking of you every day and working hard to protect and improve your retirement benefits. 

A Message from TRTA State President Patricia Macias

Greetings, and hoping everyone is safe and following orders to stay in place during this difficult time.  Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus, we had to make the decision to cancel our convention in order to help keep everyone safe. I will miss seeing everyone, but know that when this crisis is over, we will continue forward. My thoughts and prayers are with you as we practice social distancing to stay safe!

Patricia R. Macias

State President, TRTA

Quick Updates

  • TRTA is still working on options to host 2020 state officer elections. Those who have registered as delegates will receive additional information soon.
  • Proposed bylaws amendments for 2020 have been postponed.
  • Details about conducting virtual Each One Bring One drawings will be provided to the 20 TRTA Districts soon. The information will come from the District Presidents Council.
  • All TRTA 2020 District Spring Leadership Development Conferences have been canceled. 

Resources for Committee Chairs and Volunteers at District and Local Levels

2020 Convention Resource Guides are ready and available online on the TRTA website. We asked our session presenters to provide any additional training materials they may have prepared for convention, and when available, those materials can also be found on our website. As a district or local chair, you may reach out to your state officers and committee chairs and members to answer any questions you may have or to receive additional resources.

  • Click here to view and download the 2020 Resource Guides and additional training materials.

2020 Accomplishments: Time to Celebrate!

At each convention, TRTA likes to share successes and big wins for the year. See below for the many accomplishments of TRTA’s dedicated members and volunteers.

  • TRTA reached its highest membership ever in 2019, reaching 98,111 members. TRTA continues to pursue the goal of reaching 100,000 members and we believe 2020 is our year!
  • In 2019, TRTA local units gave out 318 scholarships and/or grants for a total monetary value of $254,964.
  • In 2019, 167,868 books were distributed as part of the Children’s Book Project and the Student to Student Book Program.
  • In 2019, TRTA members contributed 6,140,140 hours of community service, valued at $156,143,760. 

2020 Awards: Honoring Our Own

We are pleased to announce the recipient of this year’s prestigious E.L. Galyean Service Award, TRTA’s highest honor for individual members.

Leroy DeHaven, TRTA First Vice-President and Membership Committee Chair says “the TRTA State Membership Committee expresses its congratulations to the units and districts for an outstanding job of growing membership in TRTA. They CONNECTED the DOTS to get to the top!”

  • Here are the winners of TRTA’s district and local unit membership awards for 2019-2020:
    • Local Unit with the Highest Growth by Percentage: Blanco County ARE, District 13
      • President, Kathy Carriker; First Vice-President, Carole Smith
    • Local Unit with the Highest Growth by Number: Cypress-Fairbanks ARE, District 4
      • Local President, Sheila Wolf; First Vice President, Rebecca Riley
    • District with the Highest Growth by Percentage: District 4
      • District President, Mary Widmier; First Vice President, Charmaine Hines
    • District with the Highest Growth by Number: District 4
      • District President, Mary Widmier; First Vice President, Charmaine Hines

TRTA Partner Offers and Discounts for Our Members

TRTA was set to have an outstanding exhibit hall this year, featuring many vendors as well as health and wellness experts.

Texas Retired Teachers Foundation to Announce Scholarship and Grant Recipients!

The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF), the charitable arm of TRTA, usually hosts a fundraising meal during TRTA’s convention. During the event, TRTF announces its annual Beginning Teacher Scholarship and Classroom Assistance Grant winners.

  • Sarah Richardson, TRTA’s staff liaison to TRTF, will instead be announcing the winners LIVE on Facebook this Wednesday, April 8 at 11:00 a.m. You can click here to RSVP to the event.
  • TRTF will also email out a special appeal to members this week.
  • Remember, if you or someone you know needs urgent financial assistance right now, TRTF has a program to offer aid to retired Texas public school educators. Reach out to Sarah by emailing help@trtf.org for an application.

Special Announcement: Mark Your Calendars!

We may have missed out on Convention 2020, but we still have TRTA Day at the Capitol 2021! TRTA is pleased to announce that our biennial rally day event will occur on April 7, 2021! This event will be bigger and better than ever and is a wonderful opportunity for members all across the state to meet with their legislators and enjoy fellowship with other retirees.

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04 Apr
0

Tim Lee Hosts Facebook Live Deep Dive on WEP Reform

The Texas Retired Teachers Association’s (TRTA) Executive Director Tim Lee hosted a Facebook Live event where he explained the history, present and possible future repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

Watch the full presentation here! You don’t need to have a Facebook profile to watch the video. In his presentation, Lee also referenced a slideshow, which is available here. The Social Security Administration has two articles on the WEP which are available here and here.

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) is an unfair federal provision preventing retirees from receiving the Social Security benefits they are owed. The WEP, which took effect in 1983, provides a means of eliminating the “windfall” of Social Security benefits received by beneficiaries who also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security.

Ninety-five percent of Texas public school employees do not pay into Social Security through their work with Texas schools. However, many have other jobs before, during, or after their employment in education in which they do pay into the federal program.

TRTA has joined our friends in Massachusetts, who are also affected by the WEP, in creating the Public Retirees Alliance.

In his presentation, Lee said that there’s no reason for the WEP to still exist in its current form, and people should be “incensed” that Congress hasn’t moved forward with a solution. Congress has all the information it needs to improve retirees’ lives, but a bill hasn’t moved forward because the WEP isn’t a high enough priority.

There are currently two WEP reform bills on the table, H.R. 4540, by the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richie Neal, and H.R. 3934 by Texas Rep. Kevin Brady.

Both bills are similar and would be an improvement for the lives of retirees impacted by the WEP. TRTA is pushing for the best possible outcome for retirees.

Please contact your congressional representative and ask them to support both H.R. 4540 and H.R. 3934. You can find your representative’s contact information here.

Currently, there’s only one congressional member on the House Ways and Means Committee that has not signed on to either bill, Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett. If you want WEP reform to move forward, please contact Rep. Doggett and ask him to take action on this very important issue!

True WEP reform will start in the House Ways and Means Committee, but it will take all Texas Congressional members to resolve the WEP issue. Texas Congressional members must play their part to resolve the WEP. We need Congressional members to support one or both of these bills. Let’s get 100 percent Texas Congressional support on these bills. Currently, RepsMac Thornberry and Michael Cloud are also not signed on to either bill!

Name Phone Number Signed HR 4540 (Neal) Signed HR 3934 (Brady)
Jodey Arrington (202) 225-4005 No Yes
Kenny Marchant (202) 225-6605 No Yes
Kevin Brady (202) 225-4901 No Yes
Lloyd Doggett (202) 225-4865 No No

 

Name Phone Number Signed HR 4540 (Neal) Signed HR 3934 (Brady)
Al Green (202) 225-7508 Yes No
Bill Flores (202) 225-6105 No Yes
Brian Babin (202) 225-1555 No Yes
Chip Roy (202) 225-4236 No Yes
Colin Allred (202) 225-2231 Yes No
Dan Crenshaw (202) 225-6565 No Yes
Eddie Johnson (202) 225-8885 Yes No
Filemon Vela (202) 225-9901 Yes Yes
Henry Cuellar (202) 225-1640 Yes Yes
Joaquin Castro (202) 225-3236 Yes No
John Carter (202) 225-3864 No Yes
John Ratcliffe (202) 225-6673 No Yes
Kay Granger (202) 225-5071 No Yes
Lance Gooden (202) 225-3484 Yes Yes
Lizzie Fletcher (202) 225-2571 Yes No
Louie Gohmert (202) 225-3035 No Yes
Mac Thornberry (202) 225-3706 No No
Marc Veasey (202) 225-9897 Yes No
Michael Burgess (202) 225-7772 No Yes
Michael Cloud (202) 225-7742 No No
Michael Conaway (202) 225-3605 No Yes
Michael McCaul (202) 225-2401 No Yes
Pete Olson (202) 225-5951 No Yes
Randy Weber (202) 225-2831 No Yes
Roger Williams (202) 225-9896 No Yes
Ron Wright (202) 225-2002 No Yes
Sheila Jackson Lee (202) 225-3816 Yes No
Sylvia Garcia (202) 225-1688 Yes No
Van Taylor (202) 225-4201 No Yes
Veronica Escobar (202) 225-4831 Yes No
Vicente Gonzalez (202) 225-2531 Yes Yes
Will Hurd (202) 225-4511 No Yes

 

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03 Apr
0

Tim Lee To Host Facebook Live on WEP Reform

The Texas Retired Teachers Association’s (TRTA) Executive Director Tim Lee will host a Facebook Live event today at 1 PM CDT. Lee will provide a deep dive on Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) reform.

The video will be available on TRTA’s Facebook pageYou don’t need to have a Facebook account to view the video. The video will also be recorded and available in the videos section of TRTA’s Facebook page.

Lee will cover why the WEP exists, what its impact it has on TRS members and other public workers, the state of reforming it, and whether the federal government should consider reform as they look for ways to help struggling Americans. We’ll see you today at 1 PM CDT!

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