Blog

21 Apr
0

Final Action on TRS-Care Funding Still Pending

Two weeks ago, members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) were excited to hear about the Texas Senate’s intention to fully fund the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program shortfall. As you may know, the shortfall is expected to reach nearly $770 million.

The Texas House of Representatives passed its version of the budget, which included appropriations for funding the shortfall, via House Bill 2 a few weeks ago. Over 1,000 public education retirees attended the TRTA Day at the Capitol event on Wednesday, April 8 and filled the Senate gallery and chamber with loud cheers over the announcement from Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Senator Jane Nelson that the Senate plans to do the same. Watch a great video showcasing public education retirees from TRTA Day at the Capitol!

The Senate continues to finalize its version of the supplemental funding bill, which is where funds for the TRS-Care shortfall will be included. TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee, Legislative Coordinator Bill Barnes and Retirement Consultant Ronnie Jung are visiting with legislators daily in the Texas Capitol to ensure that our members’ health care program is protected!

Once the Senate concludes its budget process, it is likely that a conference committee of both Senators and Representatives will be appointed to finalize a budget that both houses can agree upon.

Additionally, the House Pensions Committee, led by Chairman Dan Flynn, is discussing a variety of bills, including those impacting the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS). TRTA is meeting with key leaders in the Texas House to encourage hearings for several bills supported by our membership, including House Bill 1967 (Keffer), which would provide for a supplemental payment (known as a 13th check) for retirees. TRTA is also supporting House Bill 3541 (Darby), which if passed would give a permanent raise to annuitants who retired between September 2004 and August 2013.

As the 84th Legislative Session proceeds, we ask our members to remain vigilant, as action on any of these items could be pending any day! We will need your help to contact legislators and keep the momentum going!

TRTA is walking the halls of the Capitol every day, attending one-on-one meetings with committee chairmen and working with active teacher groups on issues that affect stakeholders in every aspect of education. We appreciate your hard work and positive energy as we strive to make this session a successful one for all of our retired school personnel!

Thank You!

Please be sure to stay tuned into the Inside Line throughout the 84th Legislative Session, as we will be bringing you all the latest updates on our broad legislative agenda, including any bills concerning TRS-Care, the continued funding of the TRS pension trust fund, pension increases for all TRS retirees, and also congressional issues such as the WEP and GPO.

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

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15 Apr
0

TRTA Convention and Day at the Capitol Wrap-Up

ACTION ALERT: Thank your legislator here!

Last week, the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) held its 62nd Annual Convention in Austin, Texas on April 6-7, followed by an exciting Day at the Capitol event on April 8.

Nearly 1,000 members joined us for the Convention, held at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin. Convention attendees and hundreds of additional local TRTA members joined forces at the Texas Capitol last Wednesday for TRTA’s Day at the Capitol. The membership group gathered to meet with legislators, be honored in both the Texas Senate and House and enjoy an old-fashioned ice cream social.

During Convention, TRTA members attended numerous training and informational sessions, learning how to effectively perform the duties of district and local unit officers. All 2015-2016 Resource Guides are available for download from the TRTA website by clicking here.

Dora Scott-Nichols holds her E.L. Galyean award with Tim Lee (left) and Fran Plemmons (right).
Dora Scott-Nichols holds her E.L. Galyean award with
Tim Lee (left) and Fran Plemmons (right).

Members also enjoyed a welcome dinner, wherein longtime member and former TRTA State President Dora H. Scott-Nichols was honored with the E.L. Galyean Service Award, TRTA’s highest honor.

Although the length of the Convention was truncated, members focused on the business of each day efficiently, participating in District caucuses and attending the House of Delegates. No bylaws amendments were passed this year, though a resolution to promote membership in TRTA local units was passed.

During the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) breakfast on April 7, districts, local units and individual members donated an astounding $10,400! To see a list of donors, please click here. Tom Pritchard and Mike Lehr were also honored during the breakfast for their years of service, leadership and dedication.

Several legislators spoke with TRTA members during Day at the Capitol on the east lawn and encouraged the protection and improvement of the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.

Rep. Roberto Alonzo meets with TRTA leadership.
Rep. Roberto Alonzo meets with TRTA leadership.

A special thank you to those who came out to speak with us, including Sen. Jose Menendez (D – San Antonio), Rep. Jim Keffer (R – Eastland), Rep. Roberto Alonzo (D – Dallas), Rep. Ron Reynolds (D – Missouri City) and Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R – Odessa).

During its resolution honoring public education retirees in Texas, the Senate announced its intention to fund the TRS-Care shortfall in the amount of $770 million. The announcement was met with cheers of joy that were acknowledged by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

In fact, the Austin American-Statesman’s Quote of the Day for April 8, 2015 was, “We do not usually allow applause in the Senate gallery, but we’re making an exception,” as stated by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick when a large group of visiting retired teachers frequently interrupted a series of floor speeches singing the praises of their profession with long, loud cheers.

Bill Barnes is interviewed by KVUE reporter Amber Downing.
Bill Barnes is interviewed by KVUE reporter Amber Downing.

Local television station KVUE featured a great story about TRTA Day at the Capitol, including several interviews with retired school personnel. You can view the video here.

Thank you to all of our members and friends who attended the TRTA Convention and Day at the Capitol, as well as to the members who reached out to legislators via phone calls and email on April 8. TRTA was definitely heard and felt on April 8!

We will continue to work hard throughout the remainder of the Legislative Session to ensure that funding for TRS-Care is finalized in conference committee, and will work with our legislators on other pending legislation, such as supplemental payments and cost-of-living increases.

Thank You!

Please be sure to stay tuned into the Inside Line throughout the 84th Legislative Session, as we will be bringing you all the latest updates on our broad legislative agenda, including any bills concerning TRS-Care, the continued funding of the TRS pension trust fund, pension increases for all TRS retirees, and also congressional issues such as the WEP and GPO.

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

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07 Apr
0

TRTA Day at the Capitol is Here!

Send an email to your legislator and invite them to TRTA Day at the Capitol by clicking here!

Today, April 8, 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 grounds of the Texas Capitol wearing red shirts, carrying red bags and rallying in support of funding for vital pension and health care programs!

TRTA IS THE VOICE FOR 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.
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 fund the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.

Click this link to send your email now!

2. Call Your Legislators Today!

If you are unable to send an email or prefer communicating via telephone, please call your legislator today using the Legislator Hotline (888.674.3788).

Please let them know we appreciate them, TRTA and its members will continue to work with them to ensure that benefits for retired educators are protected, 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. All legislators and their staff members are welcome.

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

Consider downloading our Day at the Capitol Fact Page and mailing it to your legislators. Though many members will hand deliver this flyer today, we want ALL legislators to receive one! We would appreciate your help spreading the word about the bills and initiatives that TRTA is supporting this session.

Please click here if you would like to download the TRTA Day at the Capitol Fact Page.

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!

Please be sure to stay tuned into the Inside Line throughout the 84th Legislative Session, as we will be bringing you all the latest updates on our broad legislative agenda, including any bills concerning TRS-Care, the continued funding of the TRS pension trust fund, pension increases for all TRS retirees, and also congressional issues such as the WEP and GPO.

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

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