Blog

16 May 2019
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Tom Rogers Honored by Texas Legislature for His Advocacy Work

Tom Rogers will retire from the position of Austin Retired Teachers Association’s legislative chair. It’s a position that he’s held for 25 years. The Texas Legislature filed two resolutions honoring Rogers, HR 1470 and SR 704. The bills highlight Roger’s “skill, professionalism and commitment to excellence” and “extend to him sincere best wishes for the future.”

Rogers has been an integral part of the lobby effort in Austin for many years. He’s testified in front of the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) and Texas Legislature countless times.

Rogers worked as an educator for 35 years. During his tenure as a teacher, Rogers taught eighth grade science at Fulmore Junior High School. He also served as an astronomy instructor at Austin Community College for five years.

In 2014, Rogers received the E.L. Galyean Service Award from the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA), which is our highest possible honor. Rogers has been a staunch and unwavering advocate for retirees. Additionally, Rogers has been pivotal in the planning and execution of TRTA’s biannual Day at the Capitol event.

His lifetime contributions have helped pave the way for many of the benefits retirees enjoy today, and TRTA is grateful and lucky to have had the chance to work with him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim Lee Holds Facebook Live Event

If you missed it, TRTA’s Executive Director, Tim Lee, held a via Facebook Live event today, May 16. You can watch the replay here. If you haven’t already, be sure to like TRTA’s Facebook page.

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15 May 2019
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Please Support House Bill 2227

Many members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) and supporters have written us asking about House Bill 2227. HB 2227 by Rep. Gene Wu (D – Houston) is the bill that addresses minor return-to-work violations and allows current retirees to return to work without penalty. Use our Action Alert to reach out to your Senator and support this bill!

TRTA supports changing the TRS Employment After Retirement (EAR) provisions so that any current retiree who retired on or before August 31, 2018 can return to work without penalty. TRTA also supports changing the EAR rules so that retirees with minor infractions will not lose their entire monthly annuity.

HB 2227 includes changes intended to assist current retirees who wish to work full-time for a TRS-covered employer without the penalty of losing a full pension check.

The bill changes the date in law that exempts retirees from the requirement to stay out of work for an ISD or university for a 12-consecutive month period from current law date of January 1, 2011 to August 31, 2018. This change will not negatively affect actuarial status of TRS. TRTA does not support any reforms to TRS EAR rules that would impact the system negatively.

HB 2227 also assists retirees who work half-time under the law, but who inadvertently exceed the number of hours allowed each month. The current penalty requires that the retiree pay an entire monthly pension check back to the TRS system if they worked even one hour over their allotted time.

TRTA has heard from many members in the past year who needed to go back to work to pay for increased health care costs, accidentally exceeded the time allotted for work hours, and were hit with an enormous bill they cannot afford. This bill requires TRS to give the individual a warning and an opportunity to correct the error. If penalized, the retiree will only be required to pay the TRS system back for the amount of the time they overworked instead of their entire monthly annuity.

This bill is a top priority for TRTA this session due to the outcry from members needing extra income and also those who are now in arrears with the system because of minor violations of this law.

Now is the time to contact your Senator and ask him or her to help get this bill across the finish line this session! Reach your Senator by calling 1.888.674.3788. Be sure to click here to send our Action Alert email!

If you have been negatively affected by current laws regarding this issue, please call your Senator today and tell them your story. We encourage all TRTA members to contact their Senator and urge them to move this bill along.

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15 May 2019
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Conferees Appointed for Senate Bill 12

Members of the Texas Retired Teacher Association (TRTA) have been awaiting progress on the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) actuarial soundness bill, Senate Bill 12.

The bill, created by Senator Joan Huffman (R – Houston), originally passed the Senate unanimously in March. Language from House Bill 9 by Representative Greg Bonnen (R – League City) was added to the bill in April and passed the House with a vote of 145 to 1.

Because there are differences in the original version of the bill versus what was passed in the House, a conference committee must be appointed to finalize the bill’s details.

SB 12 in its present form before being reviewed by the conference committee:

  • Makes the TRS pension system actuarially sound by increasing the state contribution rate only and does not increase the contributions percentages for active employees or TRS-covered employers who do not pay Social Security.
  • Increases the state contribution to 7.8 percent in 2020 and 8.05 percent in 2021 on its way to an eventual increase to an 8.8 percent contribution rate by 2025.
  • Provides for a one-time supplemental payment no later than September 1, 2020 in the amount of the member’s regular monthly annuity, not to exceed $2,400.
  • Provides for an overall biennial appropriation of state funds at $1.4 billion to pay for the increased state contribution percentage and the one-time supplemental payment.

The following Senators have been appointed to the SB 12 conference committee: Senator Joan Huffman – Chair; Senator Lois Kolkhorst, Senator Jane Nelson, Senator Larry Taylor, and Senator Royce West.

The following Representatives have been appointed to the SB 12 conference committee: Representative Greg Bonnen, Chair; Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, Representative Jim Murphy, Representative Armando Walle, and Representative John Zerwas.

TRTA will continue to keep members informed as SB 12 and other bills are updated and finalized. The legislative session ends on May 27.

Thank You

Thank you for your commitment to TRTA. Many bills are in motion that can positively impact your retirement!

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