Blog

10 Apr
0

Senate Bill 12 On Its Way to House Floor, It’s Time to #RAISETHEBASE!

Executive Summary:

  • TRTA Day at the Capitol hosted approximately 1,500 retirees
  • SB 12 is headed to the House floor
  • Return-to-work bills are in motion
  • TRTA continues to push for additional TRS-Care funding
  • Use TRTA’s Action Alert to encourage your legislator to put as much funding into the TRS pension as possible!

Last week was big for retired teachers! Approximately 1,500 retirees flooded the Senate and House chambers of the Texas Capitol to demonstrate their desire for improved funding for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) pension fund and TRS-Care.

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) deeply appreciates all the retirees who made it to Austin to show their support. We are also grateful to legislators, including Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, for their warm welcome. Since the Day at the Capitol, TRTA has seen positive progress on several issues.

The House version of the #RAISETHEBASE bill has been incorporated with Senate Bill 12.The bill proposes to make the TRS pension fund actuarially sound and provide a supplemental check to retirees.

SB 12 will be the bill to watch over the next few weeks. The bill will likely end up in a conference committee. Legislators are deciding how much money to allocate towards the bill and the funding sources.

Return-to-Work Bills

In addition to pension funding, TRTA has been working closely with legislators to change the TRS return-to-work provisions. Some retirees who have been hit with increased health care costs want to return to work, but current provisions are limiting them. TRTA has been working with Rep. Gene Wu (D – Houston) and Rep. Dan Flynn (R – Van) to remedy this situation.

For some retirees, this would be an important change to help make ends meet. Additionally, a change in the rules would increase the labor pool for school districts to handle employee shortages.

Bills are expected to come up in committee tomorrow, and TRTA will keep you posted as their status changes.

TRS-Care Update

TRTA is continuing to push the Legislature to #RAISETHEBASE funding for the TRS-Care program. We are grateful to the Legislature for including funding to make sure TRS-Care can fund its programs with no premium increases for the next two years. However, TRTA’s concern is that the base funding be increased going forward so that the future of the program will be in better shape and the program won’t continue to experience financial shortfalls.

Retirees suffered heavily from the expenses incurred last session. While premiums and health care related expenses are expected to remain the same this biennium, it’s becoming more difficult for retirees to afford the insurance. TRTA will continue to work with the Legislature to see if more can be done for TRS-Care.

Thank You

Thank you for your commitment to TRTA. Many bills are in motion that can positively impact your retirement! It’s a very important time to stay tuned to the Inside Line, as there will be multiple updates from now until the end of session in May.

Be sure to like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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04 Apr
0

TRTA Hosts Successful Convention and Day at the Capitol

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) held its 66thAnnual Convention this week in Austin on April 1-2, followed by a rousing day of advocacy at the Texas Capitol on April 3, where more than 1,500 TRTA members and friends convened to rally and meet with their legislators!

Held at the Hilton Austin, the convention was a two-day affair packed with information, including committee and officer training sessions and a productive House of Delegates meeting. TRTA will provide a full update on bylaws amendments in second quarter issue of The VOICE.

Carlos Ortiz was recognized for his service to TRTF during the luncheon by TRTF President Jamie Larson and Executive Director Tim Lee.

During a fundraising breakfast for TRTA’s charitable partner, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF), TRTA districts, local units and members donated more than $17,000! A video honoring former TRTA Executive Director and TRTF Board Trustee Mike Lehr was also aired for all attendees.

Also at the breakfast, TRTF announced its 2019 Beginning Teacher Scholarship and Classroom Assistance Grant recipients. Click the links below to read the names of all the winners.

TRTF 2019 Beginning Teacher Scholarship Recipients

TRTF 2019 Classroom Assistance Grant Recipients

Former TRTA State President Herbert Norris was presented with this year’s prestigious E.L. Galyean Service Award for his many years of dedicated service to TRTA at both the state and local levels.

Herbert Norris accepts the E.L. Galyean award from President Pat Macias and Executive Director Tim Lee.

All committee and training session resource guides are now available for download from the TRTA website under the Membership/Member Resources tab:

 

Legislative Luncheon Features TRS Director, Legislators

From left to right: TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie, Rep. Mary González (D – Clint), Rep. Greg Bonnen (R – Friendswood) and TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee.

On Tuesday, April 1, TRTA held a well-attended legislative luncheon, featuring a panel led by TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee. Lee started the program, by discussing the current state of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) pension fund with TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie.

Representative Greg Bonnen, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article III and author of House Bill 9 (the House’s version of the TRS pension fund actuarial soundness bill) also appeared on the legislative luncheon panel, along with Representative Mary Gonzalez, a member of the same subcommittee.

The luncheon gave members the opportunity to hear directly from legislative leaders who are working to establish a long-term funding plan for the pension fund so that the system can become solvent. Until the pension fund becomes actuarially sound, the system cannot provide cost-of-living increases to annuitants due to state law.

Day at the Capitol Event Well-Attended by Retirees and Legislators

TRTA District 10 celebrates a successful Day at the Capitol on the east lawn’s steps.

On Wednesday, April 3, TRTA members from all across the state began arriving on the east lawn of the Texas Capitol, some coming from the Austin Hilton and hundreds arriving on chartered buses. The enthusiastic crowd of educators wore red shirts, carried red bags, and donned specially made bracelets that read “Raise the Base!”

Throughout the day, retirees were honored with proclamations in both the House and the Senate and set up meetings with hundreds of legislators. At noon, hundreds of retirees gathered at the TRTA tent on the east lawn for a rousing rally and heard from multiple legislators.

TRTA wishes to thank all those legislators who took time out their very busy schedules to speak publicly to our members and meet with them one-on-one.

Rep. Lynn Stucky (R – Denton) welcomes Tim Lee, Leroy DeHaven, Tonna Duke and Ella Gauthier to the House floor.

During the rally, TRTA was honored to share the platform with Representative Ron Reynolds, Representative Shawn Thierry, Representative Tony Tinderholt, Representative Phil Stephenson, Representative Ana-Maria Ramos, and Representative Carl Sherman. A staff member from Representative Kyle Biedermann’s office also addressed the crowd. Legislators and their staff also joined members on the east lawn for an ice cream social featuring local favorite Amy’s Ice Cream.

Members, if your legislator took the time to meet with you or join us on the east lawn during Day at the Capitol, please be sure to send a handwritten thank you note or give them a phone call to let them know you appreciate their support. Our Day at the Capitol event made a huge impression and put hundreds of faces to the very real and challenging issues that face Texas public education retirees today.

TRTA is making progress in both the House and the Senate on various legislative agenda items, and we must continue communicating with our legislators about the importance of retirement security for all current and future public education retirees.

Sen. Joan Huffman (R – Houston) meets with TRTA members outside of the Senate chamber.

Thank you to each and every member of TRTA for his or her participation in our convention and Day at the Capitol. Your presence was felt whether you were able to be here in person or participated from home. Thank you to those of you who made phone calls and sent emails, reminding legislators to #RAISETHEBASE!

Thank You

Thank you for your membership to TRTA. We are fighting ardently for your benefits every day at the Capitol. If you are not yet a TRTA member, please join here.

Be sure to like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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03 Apr
0

TRTA Day at the Capitol is Here!

Today, April 3, is the Texas Retired Teachers Association Day at the Capitol event! More than 1000 retired educators from across the state will arrive on the east lawn of the Texas Capitol wearing red shirts, #RAISETHEBASE bracelets and stickers, and rallying in support of funding for vital pension and health care programs!

TRTA IS THE VOICE FOR TEXAS PUBLIC EDUCATION RETIREES, and we want to be seen and heard today!

Though many of our retirees would like to attend this event, not all are able. We want your voice to be heard today too! Here are some ways you can participate and promote the causes that matter most to retired educators.

Participate in Day at the Capitol Even If You’re At Home Today!

1. Send An Email Action Alert Today!

  • Help us extend an invitation to all legislators and their staff members to join us for our ice cream social and rally on the east lawn. We’d also like for our legislators to come out to the tent during our rally and share some encouraging words. We want to show our appreciation for their overwhelming support this session to make the TRS pension fund actuarially sound and set retirees on a path for a meaningful benefit increase.
  • Click this link to send your email now

2. Call Your Legislators Today!

  • If you are unable to send an email or prefer the phone, please call your legislator today using the Legislator Hotline: 1.888.674.3788.Please let them know education retirees appreciate their hard work this session, and we want to show our gratitude by inviting them to our rally and ice cream social on the east lawn! The rally begins at noon and the ice cream social begins at 12:30 p.m. Legislators and their staff members should feel free to stop by anytime between Noon and 2:00 p.m.

3. Download and mail the TRTA Day at the Capitol Fact Page to Your Legislators!


To Write State Senators
:
The Honorable (full name)
Texas Senate
P.O. Box 12068
Austin, TX 78711-2068

To Write State Representatives:
The Honorable (full name)
Texas House of Representatives
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910

To find out who your Senator and Representative are, please click here.

Thank You!

Thank you again to everyone participating in the TRTA Day at the Capitol. We appreciate you coming to Austin, or virtually participating through the email advocacy campaign, phone calls or mail. Your membership is what makes TRTA the successful organization that it is!

Thank you for your membership to TRTA. We are fighting ardently for your benefits every day at the Capitol. If you are not yet a TRTA member, please join here.

Be sure to like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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