17 Jun 2011

TRTA Action Alert : Retain the Gonzales Amendment to SB 1

TRTA members can still influence outcome on possible supplemental payment

The current special legislative session is in its final days, but there is at least one big issue that TRTA members are waiting to learn its final outcome. An amendment added to SB 1 by Representative Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock) would authorize TRS to make a supplemental payment to retirees if they meet their actuarially expected return of 8 percent and the system remains at least 80 percent funded.

SB 1 is now being negotiated by designated conferees. Senate conferees are Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock); Bob Deuell (R-Greenville); Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen); Florence Shapiro (R-Plano); and Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) . The House conferees are: Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands); Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth); John Otto (R-Dayton); Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie); and Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio).

TRTA members can click here to send an email to their Senator and Representative asking them to support the Gonzales amendment. We need every member of the Texas Legislature to ask the conferees to keep the Gonzales amendment on SB 1.

Other News: TRS-Care Premiums will NOT increase!

The TRS Board of Trustees officially passed a resolution to maintain TRS-Care premiums and the current benefit structure for the coming fiscal year.

What may have been a huge premium increase or massive benefit reductions has proven to be a major legislative victory for all TRTA members. It was your hard work and dedication that helped pass a budget to adequately fund TRS-Care in the coming biennium. While the budget language offers legislative intent to keep premiums in check for both years of the biennium, TRS is projecting difficult days ahead for the TRS-Care program. This may be especially true if there is a run on retirements in the coming two years.

For now, though, TRS-Care participants can breath a little easier that their benefits and health care costs will remain unchanged next year.

Thank You

TRTA members continue to work hard and follow these important issues. Your efforts are appreciated and have made a difference.

If you are not a TRTA member but would like to join in our efforts to defend your TRS benefits, please contact the Texas Retired Teachers Association at 1.800.880.1650. We will be happy to answer all your membership questions.

Again, thank you for all you do to support TRTA.

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09 Jun 2011

One More Chance for Possible Payment

Contact Your Legislator Today

The Texas House is debating a school funding bill today. Representative Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock) has filed an amendment that would add the language from HB 3542 to this bill. As you will recall, HB 3542 provides an opportunity for TRS retirees to receive a supplemental payment if certain conditions are met. We need the House to accept the Gonzales amendment to give retirees a chance at receiving a supplemental payment in the coming biennium.

TRTA members need to contact their Representative today and ask them to support the Larry Gonzales amendment that provides retirees an opportunity to receive a supplemental payment.

You can email your legislators by clicking here. You can also call your legislator by using the toll-free TRTA “Call your legislator hotline” at 1.888.674.3788.

We will update you on this issue later today. Thank you for all your help.

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09 Jun 2011

Amendment Adopted!

Gonzales Amendment Adopted to SB 1

TRTA Members Push Hard and Texas House Responds

Though the notice was short and time was of the essence, thousands of TRTA members sent emails and made phone calls asking the Texas House to adopt an amendment to SB 1 that provides retirees with the possibility to receive a supplemental payment this biennium.

The amendment was offered by Representative Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock) and was adopted this evening on a vote of 135-0! Now, SB 1 will likely go to a conference committee for further negotiation. While the issue is far from concluded, tonight’s vote this was a big step to helping TRS retirees.

We will continue tracking this important issue. For now, TRTA thanks Representative Larry Gonzales for his support and the entire Texas House for adopting this amendment. If you would like to send an email to your Representative thanking them for their support on the Gonzales amendment, please click here.

Thank you for your help! Your actions and the help of ALL TRTA members made a difference for public education retirees.

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