Blog

05 Feb
0

Texas House Names Committee Members, Movement on the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) continues to address major legislative initiatives during the 84th Texas Legislature. Our initiatives include funding the TRS-Care health insurance program‘s nearly $750 million shortfall. TRTA is also protecting the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) defined benefit pension plan and the provisions and contributions put into place in 2013 by Senate Bill 1458.

Things are now happening very quickly in the Texas Legislature. Yesterday, February 4, members of the Texas House Committees were named.

TRTA members should pay especially close attention to the Appropriations (Article III) and Pensions committees, as those committees will be responsible for determining any changes made to the pension fund or TRS-Care. For a complete list of all Texas House committees and their members, please read below.

Next Wednesday, February 11, the Senate Finance Committee will meet to discuss issues related to funding for the TRS pension fund and TRS-Care. If you have a computer and would like to watch live video coverage of the meeting, you can click on this link the day of the meeting. The meeting will begin at approximately 9:00 a.m.

TRS will discuss the size of the shortfall for the retiree health insurance program during the Senate Finance Committee meeting. As we mentioned above, the shortfall is projected to be close to $750 million. The final number that will be used for consideration for the legislative budget process will be revealed at next week’s meeting.

Watch Tim Lee’s exclusive video footage about what’s been happening in your Texas Legislature!

WEP Update

Though much of our focus is on the Texas Legislature, we also want to share some good news about movement on the federal repeal of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). Near the end of 2014, Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Representative Richard Neal (D-MA) introduced the Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act. The bill was refiled for the 114th Congress yesterday, and has a new bill number: 711. HR 711 has now been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

TRTA will release another Inside Line article about HR 711 next week, as well as an Action Alert that will allow our members to contact their congressmen in support of the bill. Keep an eye out for next week’s alert!

Texas House Committees

Agriculture & Livestock

CHAIR: King, Tracy

VICE-CHAIR: Anderson, Charles “Doc”

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: González, Mary

Springer, Jr., Drew

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: District 17

Rinaldi, Matt

Simpson, David

 

Appropriations

CHAIR: Otto, John

VICE-CHAIR: Turner, Sylvester

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Burkett, Cindy

Davis, Sarah

Dukes, Dawnna

Giddings, Helen

Gonzales, Larry

Howard, Donna

Hughes, Bryan

Márquez, Marisa

McClendon, Ruth Jones

Miles, Borris L.

Price, Four

Walle, Armando

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Ashby, Trent

Bell, Jr., Cecil

Bonnen, Greg

Capriglione, Giovanni

Koop, Linda

Longoria, Oscar

Miller, Rick

Muñoz, Jr., Sergio

Phelan, Dade

Raney, John

Rodriguez, Justin

Sheffield, J.D.

VanDeaver, Gary

 

Business & Industry

CHAIR: Oliveira, René

VICE-CHAIR: Simmons, Ron

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Collier, Nicole

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Fletcher, Allen

Rinaldi, Matt

Romero, Jr., Ramon

Villalba, Jason

 

Calendars

CHAIR: Hunter, Todd

VICE-CHAIR: Lucio III, Eddie

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Alonzo, Roberto

Cook, Byron

Davis, Sarah

Geren, Charlie

Giddings, Helen

Harless, Patricia

Huberty, Dan

Johnson, Eric

King, Ken

Larson, Lyle

Price, Four

Riddle, Debbie

Rodriguez, Eddie

 

Corrections

CHAIR: Murphy, Jim

VICE-CHAIR: White, James

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Allen, Alma

District 13

Keough, Mark

Krause, Matt

Tinderholt, Tony

 

County Affairs

CHAIR: Coleman, Garnet

VICE-CHAIR: Farias, Joe

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Farias, Joe

Romero, Jr., Ramon

Spitzer, Stuart

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Burrows, Dustin

District 13

Stickland, Jonathan

Tinderholt, Tony

Wu, Gene

 

Criminal Jurisprudence

CHAIR: Herrero, Abel

VICE-CHAIR: Moody, Joseph

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Moody, Joseph

Simpson, David

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Canales, Terry

Hunter, Todd

Leach, Jeff

Shaheen, Matt

 

Culture, Recreation & Tourism

CHAIR: Guillen, Ryan

VICE-CHAIR: Dukes, Dawnna

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Larson, Lyle

Smith, Wayne

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Frullo, John

Márquez, Marisa

Murr, Andrew

 

Defense & Veterans’ Affairs

CHAIR: King, Susan

VICE-CHAIR: Frank, James

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Schaefer, Matt

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Aycock, Jimmie Don

Blanco, César José

Farias, Joe

Shaheen, Matt

 

Economic & Small Business Development

CHAIR: Button, Angie Chen

VICE-CHAIR: Johnson, Eric

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Anderson, Charles “Doc”

Rodriguez, Eddie

Vo, Hubert

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Faircloth, Wayne

Isaac, Jason

Metcalf, Will

Villalba, Jason

 

Elections

CHAIR: Laubenberg, Jodie

VICE-CHAIR: Goldman, Craig

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Fallon, Pat

Israel, Celia

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Phelan, Dade

Reynolds, Ron

Schofield, Mike

 

Energy Resources

CHAIR: Darby, Drew

VICE-CHAIR: Paddie, Chris

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Anchia, Rafael

Craddick, Tom

Herrero, Abel

King, Phil

Riddle, Debbie

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Canales, Terry

Dale, Tony

Keffer, Jim

Landgraf, Brooks

Meyer, Morgan

Wu, Gene

 

Environmental Regulation

CHAIR: Morrison, Geanie

VICE-CHAIR: Rodriguez, Eddie

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Kacal, Kyle

Reynolds, Ron

Thompson, Ed

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Isaac, Jason

King, Ken

King, Phil

Lozano, J. M.

 

General Investigating & Ethics

CHAIR: Kuempel, John

VICE-CHAIR: Collier, Nicole

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Davis, Sarah

Hunter, Todd

Larson, Lyle

Moody, Joseph

Turner, Chris

 

Government Transparency & Operation

CHAIR: Elkins, Gary

VICE-CHAIR: Walle, Armando

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Leach, Jeff

Turner, Scott

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Galindo, Rick

Gonzales, Larry

Gutierrez, Roland

 

Higher Education

CHAIR: Zerwas, John

VICE-CHAIR: Howard, Donna

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Crownover, Myra

Morrison, Geanie

Zerwas, John

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Alonzo, Roberto

Clardy, Travis

Martinez, Armando

Raney, John

Turner, Chris

 

Homeland Security & Public Safety

CHAIR: Phillips, Larry

VICE-CHAIR: Nevárez, Poncho

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Metcalf, Will

White, Molly

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Burns, DeWayne

Dale, Tony

Johnson, Eric

Moody, Joseph

Wray, John

 

House Administration

CHAIR: Geren, Charlie

VICE-CHAIR: Márquez, Marisa

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Allen, Alma

Alonzo, Roberto

Ashby, Trent

Farney, Marsha

Howard, Donna

King, Ken

Paddie, Chris

Raney, John

Vo, Hubert

 

Human Services

CHAIR: Raymond, Richard Peña

VICE-CHAIR: Rose, Toni

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Klick, Stephanie

Naishtat, Elliott

Peña, Gilbert

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Keough, Mark

King, Susan

Price, Four

Spitzer, Stuart

 

Insurance

CHAIR: Frullo, John

VICE-CHAIR: Muñoz, Jr., Sergio

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Muñoz, Jr., Sergio

Sheets, Kenneth

Workman, Paul

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Bonnen, Greg

Guerra, R.D. “Bobby”

Meyer, Morgan

Paul, Dennis

Vo, Hubert

 

International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs

CHAIR: Anchia, Rafael

VICE-CHAIR: Lozano, J. M.

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Koop, Linda

Lozano, J. M.

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Anderson, Rodney

Burrows, Dustin

District 123

Turner, Scott

 

Investments & Financial Services

CHAIR: Parker, Tan

VICE-CHAIR: Longoria, Oscar

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Flynn, Dan

Parker, Tan

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Capriglione, Giovanni

Landgraf, Brooks

Pickett, Joe

Stephenson, Phil

 

Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence

CHAIR: Smithee, John

VICE-CHAIR: Farrar, Jessica

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Hernandez, Ana

Laubenberg, Jodie

Raymond, Richard Peña

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Clardy, Travis

Schofield, Mike

Sheets, Kenneth

Thompson, Senfronia

 

Juvenile Justice & Family Issues

CHAIR: Dutton, Jr., Harold

VICE-CHAIR: Riddle, Debbie

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Rose, Toni

White, James

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Hughes, Bryan

Peña, Gilbert

Sanford, Scott

 

Land & Resource Management

CHAIR: Deshotel, Joe

VICE-CHAIR: Thompson, Ed

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Bell, Jr., Cecil

District 17

Krause, Matt

Lucio III, Eddie

Sanford, Scott

 

Licensing & Administrative Procedures

CHAIR: Smith, Wayne

VICE-CHAIR: Gutierrez, Roland

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Guillen, Ryan

Gutierrez, Roland

Thompson, Senfronia

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Geren, Charlie

Goldman, Craig

Kuempel, John

Miles, Borris L.

Miller, Doug

 

Local & Consent Calendars

CHAIR: Thompson, Senfronia

VICE-CHAIR: Clardy, Travis

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Burkett, Cindy

Capriglione, Giovanni

Dale, Tony

Gonzales, Larry

Guerra, R.D. “Bobby”

Gutierrez, Roland

Isaac, Jason

Muñoz, Jr., Sergio

Nevárez, Poncho

Sheets, Kenneth

Springer, Jr., Drew

 

Natural Resources

CHAIR: Keffer, Jim

VICE-CHAIR: Ashby, Trent

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Bonnen, Dennis

Keffer, Jim

King, Tracy

Lucio III, Eddie

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Burns, DeWayne

Frank, James

Kacal, Kyle

Larson, Lyle

Nevárez, Poncho

Workman, Paul

 

Pensions

CHAIR: Flynn, Dan

VICE-CHAIR: Alonzo, Roberto

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Alonzo, Roberto

Stephenson, Phil

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Hernandez, Ana

Klick, Stephanie

Paul, Dennis

Rodriguez, Justin

 

Public Education

CHAIR: Aycock, Jimmie Don

VICE-CHAIR: Allen, Alma

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Allen, Alma

Deshotel, Joe

Dutton, Jr., Harold

Farney, Marsha

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Bohac, Dwayne

Galindo, Rick

González, Mary

Huberty, Dan

King, Ken

VanDeaver, Gary

 

Public Health

CHAIR: Crownover, Myra

VICE-CHAIR: Naishtat, Elliott

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Coleman, Garnet

Guerra, R.D. “Bobby”

Sheffield, J.D.

Zedler, William “Bill”

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Blanco, César José

Collier, Nicole

Davis, Sarah

Miller, Rick

Zerwas, John

 

Redistricting

CHAIR: Lozano, J. M.

VICE-CHAIR: Davis, Yvonne

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Gonzales, Larry

Hunter, Todd

Keffer, Jim

Oliveira, René

Parker, Tan

Pickett, Joe

Thompson, Senfronia

 

Rules & Resolutions

CHAIR: McClendon, Ruth Jones

VICE-CHAIR: Kacal, Kyle

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Alvarado, Carol

Bell, Jr., Cecil

Blanco, César José

Button, Angie Chen

Faircloth, Wayne

Murr, Andrew

Rodriguez, Justin

Rose, Toni

Sheffield, J.D.

 

Special Purpose Districts

CHAIR: Miller, Doug

VICE-CHAIR: Alvarado, Carol

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Miller, Doug

Stickland, Jonathan

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Faircloth, Wayne

Fallon, Pat

Martinez Fischer, Trey

Zedler, William “Bill”

 

State Affairs

CHAIR: Cook, Byron

VICE-CHAIR: Giddings, Helen

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Farrar, Jessica

Menéndez, José

Oliveira, René

Smithee, John

Turner, Sylvester

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Craddick, Tom

Farney, Marsha

Geren, Charlie

Harless, Patricia

Huberty, Dan

Kuempel, John

 

Transportation

CHAIR: Pickett, Joe

VICE-CHAIR: Martinez, Armando

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Davis, Yvonne

Fletcher, Allen

Martinez, Armando

Phillips, Larry

Pickett, Joe

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Burkett, Cindy

Harless, Patricia

Israel, Celia

McClendon, Ruth Jones

Menéndez, José

Murr, Andrew

Paddie, Chris

Simmons, Ron

 

Urban Affairs

CHAIR: Alvarado, Carol

VICE-CHAIR: Hunter, Todd

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Anderson, Rodney

District 123

Elkins, Gary

Schaefer, Matt

White, Molly

 

Ways & Means

CHAIR: Bonnen, Dennis

VICE-CHAIR: Davis, Yvonne

SENIORITY APPOINTMENTS: Bohac, Dwayne

Button, Angie Chen

Murphy, Jim

Turner, Chris

SPEAKER APPOINTMENTS: Darby, Drew

Martinez Fischer, Trey

Parker, Tan

Springer, Jr., Drew

Wray, John

 

Proclamation Appointment Of Select Committee On Emerging Issues In Texas Law Enforcement

Fletcher, Allen, Chair

Dukes, Dawnna, Vice-Chair

Flynn, Dan

Koop, Linda

Márquez, Marisa

Martinez, Armando

White, James

 

Proclamation Appointment Of Select Committee On State and Federal Power and Responsibility

King, Phil, Chair

Workman, Paul, Vice-Chair

Anderson, Charles “Doc”

Clardy, Travis

Miles, Borris L.

Parker, Tan

Walle, Armando

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 bills concerning TRS-Care and the continued funding of the TRS pension trust fund, as well as congressional issues.

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.

Read More
28 Jan
0

Texas Senate Names Committee Members

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is busy addressing our major legislative initiatives during the 84th Texas Legislature. These initiatives include addressing the nearly $750 million shortfall facing the TRS-Care health insurance program. TRTA is also focused on protecting the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) defined benefit pension plan, which was made actuarially sound through legislation passed in 2013 (Senate Bill 1458). This session, TRTA will work with legislators to find ways to improve benefits for all TRS retirees.

Members of the Texas Senate were named to committees late last week. TRTA members should pay especially close attention to the Senate Finance and Senate State Affairs committees, as those committees will be responsible for determining any changes made to the pension fund or TRS-Care.

As of today, the Texas House committee members have not yet been named. We expect to hear more about House committee appointments soon.

TRTA is working closely with several legislators to propose legislation that would provide a great benefit to TRS retirees. We will keep you posted on these efforts as they develop.

For a complete list of all Texas Senate committees and their members, please read below:

 

Committee on Administration

Hancock, Kelly | Chair

Uresti, Carlos | Vice Chair

Campbell, Donna

Eltife, Kevin

Huffines, Don

Schwertner, Charles

West, Royce

Committee on Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs

Perry, Charles | Chair

Zaffirini, Judith | Vice Chair

Creighton, Brandon

Hall, Bob

Hinojosa, Juan “Chuy”

Kolkhorst, Lois

Rodriguez, José

Committee on Business and Commerce

Eltife, Kevin | Chair

Creighton, Brandon | Vice Chair

Ellis, Rodney

Huffines, Don

Schwertner, Charles

Seliger, Kel

Taylor, Larry

Watson, Kirk

Whitmire, John

Committee on Criminal Justice

Whitmire, John | Chair

Huffman, Joan | Vice Chair

Burton, Konni

Creighton, Brandon

Hinojosa, Juan “Chuy”

Perry, Charles

Van de Putte, Leticia

Committee on Education

Taylor, Larry | Chair

Lucio Eddie, Jr. | Vice Chair

Bettencourt, Paul

Campbell, Donna

Garcia, Sylvia

Huffines, Don

Kolkhorst, Lois

Rodriguez, José

Seliger, Kel

Taylor, Van

West, Royce

Committee on Finance

Nelson, Jane | Chair

Hinojosa, Juan “Chuy” | Vice Chair

Bettencourt, Paul

Eltife, Kevin

Hancock, Kelly

Huffman, Joan

Kolkhorst, Lois

Nichols, Robert

Schwertner, Charles

Seliger, Kel

Taylor, Larry

Uresti, Carlos

Watson, Kirk

West, Royce

Whitmire, John

Committee on Health and Human Services

Schwertner, Charles | Chair

Kolkhorst, Lois | Vice Chair

Campbell, Donna

Estes, Craig

Perry, Charles

Rodriguez, José

Taylor, Van

Uresti, Carlos

Zaffirini, Judith

Committee on Higher Education

Seliger, Kel | Chair

West, Royce | Vice Chair

Bettencourt, Paul

Burton, Konni

Perry, Charles

Van de Putte, Leticia

Watson, Kirk

Committee on Intergovernmental Relations

Lucio, Eddie Jr. | Chair

Bettencourt, Paul | Vice Chair

Campbell, Donna

Garcia, Sylvia

Nichols, Robert

Taylor, Larry

Van de Putte, Leticia

Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development

Fraser, Troy | Chair

Estes, Craig | Vice Chair

Birdwell, Brian

Hall, Bob

Hancock, Kelly

Hinojosa, Juan “Chuy”

Lucio, Eddie Jr.

Nichols, Robert

Uresti, Carlos

Seliger, Kel

Zaffirini, Judith

Committee on Nominations

Birdwell, Brian | Chair

Taylor, Van | Vice Chair

Burton, Konni

Fraser, Troy

Estes, Craig

Rodriguez, José

Watson, Kirk

Committee on State Affairs

Huffman, Joan | Chair

Ellis, Rodney | Vice Chair

Birdwell, Brian

Creighton, Brandon

Estes, Craig

Fraser, Troy

Nelson, Jane

Schwertner, Charles

Zaffirini, Judith

Committee on Transportation

Nichols, Robert | Chair

Huffines, Don | Vice Chair

Ellis, Rodney

Fraser, Troy

Garcia, Sylvia

Hall, Bob

Hancock, Kelly

Kolkhorst, Lois

Taylor, Van

Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations

Campbell, Donna | Chair

Burton, Konni | Vice Chair

Birdwell, Brian

Garcia, Sylvia

Hall, Robert

Lucio, Eddie Jr.

Rodriguez, José

Border Security Subcommittee

Birdwell, Brian | Chair

Hall, Bob | Vice Chair

Lucio, Eddie Jr.

 

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 bills concerning TRS-Care and the continued funding of the TRS pension trust fund.

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.

Read More
09 Jan
0

TRTA Legislative Roundtable Half-hour Special

In preparation for the 2015 Texas Legislature, we gathered the most knowledgeable legislative minds within the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) to discuss TRTA’s goals. The following conversation is an extensive look into the issues surrounding TRS-Care. The 84th Texas Legislature convenes Jan. 13 at noon.

The video is a half-hour long, so if you would like to skip to any part of the video please select the links below. Also, please be sure to share this with your fellow retired educators!

Roundtable Video Links TRTA Links
Introduction Sign Up for TRTA
TRTA Legislative Goals TRS-Care Sustainability Study
TRS-Care Overview TRS-Care Fact Sheet
TRS-Care Explained Subscribe to Inside Line
Member Reaction 2014 4th Quarter The Voice Letter 
Member Contribution
Final Thoughts

The video interview features TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee, TRTA Retirement Consultant Ronnie Jung, and TRTA Legislative Coordinator Bill Barnes.

During the interview, Tim Lee stressed the need for the Texas Legislature to address the TRS-Care funding shortfall.

“We have to protect our defined benefit plan. We have to protect what we’ve already achieved in previous sessions, and work with the Legislature (to) come up with a real solution for the health insurance program,” Lee said.

The real solution Lee referred to will extend beyond the supplemental funding necessary to keep TRS-Care going, according to Ronnie Jung. Jung explained the core issue surrounding TRS-Care funding is the structure on which the health care system is built.

“The problem we have is that the funding structure, which is a percentage of payroll, is not tied to the fact that we have more retirees and more health care costs,” Jung said.

Bill Barnes discussed his experiences in talking with TRTA members about the impending budget shortfall, and how an increase in medical premiums would have a negative impact on the lives of those dependent on TRS-Care. Barnes, who was encouraged by the 2013 Legislature passing a cost-of-living increase for retired teachers, said while retirees may not have control over prescription drug costs, it is possible to make an impact on TRS-Care by contacting legislators.

Tim Lee echoed this sentiment and encouraged all viewers to complete the letter in the latest edition The VOICE. You can download and print a copy of the letter here.

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 bills concerning TRS-Care and the continued funding of the TRS pension trust fund.

Thank You!

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 1.800.880.1650Follow us on Facebook! Visit our YouTube channel for regular video updates.

Read More