04 Mar

TRTA Hosting Day at the Capitol Event on April 3!

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) will host its biennial Day at the Capitol event on Wednesday, April 3 in conjunction with the 66th Annual TRTA Convention in Austin. In years past, thousands of Texas public education retirees have filled the halls of the Capitol wearing red shirts and promoting the preservation of the TRS defined benefit plan and TRS-Care!

TRTA is expecting just as many retirees, if not more, to arrive this year on the east lawn of the Capitol grounds wearing special bracelets that read “RAISETHEBASE!” for a day filled with legislator visits, House and Senate honors, and an old-fashioned ice cream social!

Schedule of Events 
Wednesday, April 3, 2019 
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.                   Legislative Visits (optional)
9:30 a.m.                                          House Gallery (head to gallery at 9:00 a.m.)
10:30 a.m.                                        Senate Gallery (head to gallery at 10:00 a.m.)
11:30 a.m. or 12:00 p.m.               Rally on the East Lawn
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.                  Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.                  Additional Legislative Visits (optional)

Capitol Maps
Capitol Grounds and Building Maps
Capitol Directory of Legislator Offices

What to Wear
We are asking all attendees to wear a red shirt to show solidarity and impress legislators with the “Sea of Red” when TRTA members fill the hallways! Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.

What to Bring
Advocacy materials, snacks and water will be provided for all attendees. If you’re attending convention, bring your convention bag and name badge with you. If you are not attending convention, please consider bringing a bag from home. A limited number of bags will be provided for out-of-town visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. Bring business cards if you plan to meet with legislators or staffers. Carry your identification and any pertinent medical information you may need in case of an emergency.

Shuttles and Parking
Convention attendees may ride a shuttle from the Hilton to the Capitol. Shuttles will begin running in 20-minute intervals at approximately 7:00 a.m. and will run continuously until 4:00 p.m. (final pickup).

If you are travelling to Austin on April 3 or prefer to park near the Capitol you may do so in one of the state parking garages located along San Jacinto Street (between 12th, 13thand 14thstreets). From the state garages, the east lawn is a short walk of one block to the west.

If you are with a large group arriving on April 3, please be aware that buses must unload passengers on the east side of the Texas Capitol (on Brazos street). Buses may park along Trinity Street.

RSVPs Needed from Non-Convention Attendees!
If your district or local unit plans to bring a large group to the Day at the Capitol but is not attending the convention, let us know! Send an email to (Subject Line: Capitol RSVP). This will help ensure that plenty of materials, snacks and water are available for everyone.

Entering the Capitol
Due to the long lines that may form at the east door, members who are willing and able should utilize alternate entrances (north, south and west). The only wheelchair accessible ramp is located at the north entrance. All entrances require visitors to pass through metal detectors and have a bag search. A quick entry line is available for persons who have a concealed handgun license.

Scheduled Activities 
At approximately 9:30 a.m., retirees will be honored with a resolution in the House gallery on the third floor. Since there are several other groups visiting the Capitol that day, we recommend that you arrive in the gallery by 9:00 a.m. to find a seat. If the gallery is full, a short walk across the hallway to the Senate gallery will give members the opportunity to hear a similar resolution by the Senate at 10:30 a.m.

By 11:30 a.m. or 12:00 p.m., members may begin gathering on the east lawn for a rally and ice cream social. Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream will be provided by local Austin favorite Amy’s Ice Cream. Be sure to invite your legislators and their staffers to join you!

Appointments with Legislators
Day at the Capitol allows plenty of time for you to visit with your legislators. To set an appointment, call the Legislator Hotline (888.674.3788) and speak with the scheduler in your Senator’s or Representative’s office. If you want to attend either the House or Senate resolutions honoring retirees, schedule appointments in the early morning or in the afternoon after the ice cream social. Plan for at least 20 minutes between appointments as the Capitol is quite large and there are long lines to use elevators.

What about Lunch?
TRTA will not provide lunch during the Day at the Capitol event; however, the Capitol Grill (located on floor E1) offers a wide variety of delicious and quick food and beverage options.

Photo Opportunities
Please note that many legislative staffers at the Capitol will take your photo with your Senator or Representative and email it to you. You can also ask a legislative staffer if they mind taking a photo using your personal cell phone! Email your photos to and we will post them to Facebook.

Hotel Accommodations for Non-Convention Attendees
If you want to stay the night in Austin, TRTA recommends the Drury Inn located at 6711 N. IH 35. TRTA members receive 5 percent discount off Drury’scorporate rates. Contact the Drury at 1.800.378.7946 and provide Corporate ID #311435 or visit (use BizTrip Corporate ID #311435).

Thank You!
TRTA is the voice for public education retirees, and we want to be seen and heard on April 3! Let’s get as many TRTA members and friends as possible in Austin for this important legislative event! Let your legislators know we are looking forward to seeing them on April 3! Call 888.674.3788 to reach out to your legislators now. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a special email campaign.

Click here to download a press release about convention and Day at the Capitol that you may send to your local media outlets!

Thank you for your membership in the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA). If you are not a member of TRTA and want information about joining, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650. Follow us on Facebook!

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26 Feb

TRTA Convention Registration Deadline: Friday, March 1

Registration for the 66th Annual TRTA Convention to be held in Austin, Texas April 1–2, 2019 closes this coming Friday, March 1! This year’s theme is Connecting the Dots to TRTA’s Success, a meaningful metaphor that matches TRTA’s legislative goals as we head into another challenging session in the Texas capital city! The convention will be held at the Austin Hilton on 500 E. 4th Street. TRTA members can register online by clicking here.

There is no better time to be in Austin! The Texas Legislature will be in regular session, discussing such vital issues as the TRS–Care health insurance program and ways to protect the longevity of benefits for our public education retirees and pre–retirees.

More than 1,000 TRTA members are expected to come to Austin to receive training, hear from legislators, and receive a comprehensive legislative session update. This year’s sessions include “Making a Digital Memory Book,” “Benefits of Owning a Pet,” “The Texas Silver Haired Legislature,” officer and committee training sessions, and more! Members will convene for a Pep Rally on the afternoon of April 2 to prepare for the April 3 TRTA Day at the Capitol event and learn how TRTA wants the Legislature to #RaisetheBase. A complete schedule of events is listed here. A full update about TRTA Day at the Capitol will be emailed out later this week.

Don’t forget to submit your convention registration by this Friday, March 1! REGISTER NOW! We look forward to seeing you in Austin on April 1.

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21 Feb

House Appropriations Committee Meets, Receives Testimony From TRS and TRTA

Executive Summary:

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article III met yesterday, February 20, and the legislators’ discussions centered on the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). The committee received testimony from TRS and the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA).

Much of this year’s testimony has been focused on two things: the TRS pension fund and the TRS health care system. Both systems require more base funding to reach an adequate state.

For TRS-Care, it’s facing a $230 million budget shortfall this session. However, that shortfall will once again skyrocket for the next legislative session. Increasing the amount of money going into TRS-Care to help offset rising health care costs will be critical.

The TRS pension fund receives the lowest percentage of state funding of any non-mandatory Social Security state in the nation. Since lowering its assumed rate of return to 7.25 percent, TRS has seen its unfunded liabilities increase. If retirees would like to see any sort of COLA or benefit increase in their pension fund, the state must increase funding into TRS.

Support TRTA’s plan by completing today’s Action Alert!

That’s why TRTA created the #RAISETHEBASE campaign. The campaign is centered on the idea that Texas needs to increase the base funding for the vital TRS-run programs.

During Tim Lee’s presentation to the House Appropriations Committee yesterday, he stressed these ideas.

Lee pointed out that now is the moment for Texas to ensure the TRS plan will survive and thrive; or, we will begin a downward spiral with costs outpacing contributions and benefits being reduced. History is clear, and shows that funding now saves pain later.

The House Committee on Appropriations will continue to discuss and review options to improve these programs during future meetings. TRTA will keep its members updated as committee meetings progress throughout session.

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