Blog

06 Apr 2021
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TRTA Zoom to the Capitol: April 6 Events Reminder

Yesterday, members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) began participating in virtual meetings with their legislators for our very first virtual Zoom to the Capitol event!

Links for today’s events (April 6) are available below!

  • Don’t forget to download the TRTA app to be sure you receive all of the late-breaking updates. Learn how to download the app here! Your username and password are the same you would use for the TRTA website. Once you have accessed the app, navigate to the “Events” tab to find the Zoom to the Capitol activities. Here, you can view the schedule, attendees, and speakers! The “Agenda” tab at the top shows the program for each day and allows you to add sessions to your personal agenda under “My Agenda.”
  • As a bonus, everyone who uses the TRTA App will have several chances to win TRTA-branded merchandise with daily trivia contests or by posting a photo of themselves mailing their red letters in the Red Letter Campaign forum!

Join Us for the Kickoff Event! April 6 at 9:00 A.M.

TRTA President Leroy DeHaven and TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee kick off the state events at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 6.

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86968453426?pwd=bHRUNW1tb3lyTXlyNEVlVGFwV240dz09
Meeting ID: 869 6845 3426
Passcode: 174023
Dial by your location
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

Join Us for a Roundtable Discussion with Tim Lee and Special Legislative Guests! April 6 at 5:00 P.M.

TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee hosts Senator Eddie Lucio and Representative Giovanni Capriglione for a conversation about the 87th Legislative Session and how legislators can help TRS retirees! Join us on YouTube or Facebook!

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05 Apr 2021
0

TRTA is Ready to Zoom to the Capitol! PLUS: PIFS Committee to Hear COLA Bills!

Monday, April 5 through Thursday, April 8, our Texas retired public education employees will be at the granite dome—virtually—talking with their Senators and Representatives about how TRS retirees need a meaningful, permanent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)!

There are several events you will not want to miss, including the Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services (PIFS) Committee hearing on Wednesday, April 7 at 8:00 a.m. This our chance to have bills that would provide a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for TRS retirees heard!

We hope you have been able to send in your red letters already! Please continue to send in your letters throughout the session if you have not yet received your copy of The VOICE.

TRTA has several statewide virtual events planned. If you would like to participate, read ahead! We will also send out reminders every day this week about TRTA’s scheduled activities.

Download the TRTA App

The TRTA App will be your go-to resource for this virtual event! Learn how to download the app here!

Your username and password are the same you would use for the TRTA website. Once you have accessed the app, navigate to the “Events” tab to find the Zoom to the Capitol activities. Here, you can view the schedule, attendees, and speakers! The “Agenda” tab at the top shows the program for each day and allows you to add sessions to your personal agenda under “My Agenda.”

As a bonus, everyone who uses the TRTA App will have several chances to win TRTA-branded merchandise with daily trivia contests or by posting a photo of themselves mailing their red letters in the Red Letter Campaign forum!

Join Us For the Kickoff Event! April 6 at 9:00 A.M.

TRTA President Leroy DeHaven and TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee kick off the state events at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 6.

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86968453426?pwd=bHRUNW1tb3lyTXlyNEVlVGFwV240dz09

Meeting ID: 869 6845 3426
Passcode: 174023

Dial by your location
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

Join Us For a Roundtable Discussion With Tim Lee and Special Legislative Guests! April 6 at 5:00 P.M.

TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee hosts Senator Eddie Lucio and Representative Giovanni Capriglione for a conversation about the 87th Legislative Session and how legislators can help TRS retirees! Join us on YouTube or Facebook!

Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services (PIFS) Committee Hearing! April 7 at 8:00 A.M.

The PIFS Committee is always an important one to watch and pay attention for TRTA members, as the committee hears bills pertaining to TRS. On Wednesday, April 7 at 8:00 a.m., several bills—including those that would provide a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for TRS retirees—will be heard in committee!

Thank you to PIFS Committee Chairman Rafael Anchia for scheduling this important hearing. Multiple bills pertaining to TRS will be heard, including those that affect return-to-work provisions and TRS-Care.

This is a meeting our members will not want to miss! TRTA will stream this meeting to our YouTube and Facebook channels.

Join Us For a Resolution Watch Party! April 7 at 11 A.M.

The Texas Senate (SR 129) have has filed a resolution honoring retired teachers the week of April 5!

TRTA will host a live watch party of the readings on YouTube and Facebook. The stream will start at 11 a.m.!

Join Us For a Zoom to the TRTF Fundraiser and Capitol Wrap-Up! April 7 at 12:00 P.M.

TRTF Board President Mary Nell Short will provide a Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) program update and update attendees on the TRTF Donate Your Date fundraiser. Be sure to stay tuned, because TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee will wrap up the week’s events by talking about our Zoom to the Capitol successes. Join us via YouTube or Facebook!

Advocacy Tips

  1. TRTA is a professional organization and we take pride in our advocacy. Let’s maintain these high standards even though we are virtual this week.
  2. When asking for support on our issues, always be polite, to the point, compelling, heartfelt, and honest. TRTA educates elected officials about our issues and asks for their support. We never attack and demand!
  3. If you do not know the answer to the question, please say TRTA staff will follow up. We have the best and most capable Capitol team in Austin! Send your follow up questions to info@trta.org
  4. Make sure to ask the elected official to take action on our TRTA agenda. Ask if they will co-sponsor our bills or if they will consider it. The TRTA Capitol Team can follow up with them.

Top Issues For the Virtual Meetings

  1. COLA bills (TRTA is focused on a 6% increase capped at $100/month as we believe this is the most allowable under the current actuarial condition. No raise this session risks the future of an increase in the years to come). Bills: SB 2092, HB 3214, and HB 3206 
  2. Sunset bill (makes various reforms at TRS including a TRS ombudsman and various return to work adjustments). Bills: SB 706 and HB 1585
  3. The Tutor Initiative (Coordinates efforts with ISD’s, TEA, and TRS to allow Texas retired teachers to help with online and in-person tutoring) Bill: SB 1356
  4. Return-to-work solutions (reforms the date for current return to work penalty and allows for updates to these rules). Bills: HB 2109, HB 3787, and HB 3207

Suggestions For Virtual Advocacy

  1. Know how to turn your computer mic on and off. The MUTE button is your best friend!
  2. Smile and show interest in the meeting. Elected officials are extremely busy this time of session. If they are able to be on your call, they really are making you and your concerns a high priority!
  3. Have fun, be friendly, and ask them to support our issues. They may not immediately say yes, but let them know we appreciate their consideration and TRTA will follow up.
  4. Always know that a live camera and live mic sees and hears all. Let them see and hear passionate TRTA members! You are our most powerful resource in TRTA!!
  5. Brevity and focus are the keys to successful engagement. Legislators appreciate concise questions, good feedback, and being treated respectfully. We all know the state of the political dialogue in the country. We stand out because of our professional, kind, direct and appreciative tone.

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30 Mar 2021
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Last Chance to RSVP to TRTA Zoom to the Capitol!

  • Have you sent your email to your legislators, letting them know TRS retirees need a raise this session? CLICK HERE TO SEND YOURS!

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 5-8, 2021).

RSVP TODAY!

It is very important that all TRTA members RSVP to Zoom to the Capitol. So far, we have received 1,000 RSVPs! We are pleased to announce that we do have more room for this event! Let’s get more of our nearly 100,000 members involved and advocating for a permanent, meaningful COLA!

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.

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

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

Even if your issue of The VOICE arrives late, you can still send in your letters! Yes, TRTA hopes to flood the Capitol with a sea of red letters next week, but 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.

Contest Alert! 

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. There will also be daily trivia contests in the app next week! In all, there will be 10 winners.

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 raised more than $8,000 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.

Members who need help through the TRTF Disaster Relief program may send an email to help@trtf.org. A brief application form will be emailed back to you. Grants will be given on a first come, first served basis, until funds are depleted.

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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