Return-to-Work-Bill to Be Heard in House Tomorrow, Action Alert Included

Executive Summary:

HB 2227 by Rep. Gene Wu (D – Houston) is a return-to-work-bill that’s scheduled to be heard on the House floor tomorrow, May 1. Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) members should use this action alert to contact their Representative in support of this bill.

If passed, HB 2227 would allow anyone who retired before Aug. 31, 2018 to go to work full-time for a TRS-covered employer, such as a school district or higher education institute. The law currently prohibits retirees from returning to work full-time without a penalty applied to their pension, unless they take consecutive 12 months off in service. The law’s current exemption date is Jan. 1, 2011. HB 2227 greatly increases the ability for retirees to supplement their pensions and offset the rising health care costs by going back to work full-time. Many school districts, especially in the fast-growing areas of the state, are facing teacher shortages, and HB 2227 is receiving active educator support as it helps address this issue.

The bill also creates a more member-friendly process for retirees who work half-time for a TRS-covered employer and inadvertently work too many hours. The current law states that if a retiree even works half an hour over the limit, they must forfeit their entire pension for that month. HB 2227 creates a first warning system, and lowers the penalty to the amount of dollars earned that went over the limit for a first-time offense.

HB 2227 is critical to help TRS retirees and school districts serving Texas children. The bill has no negative actuarial effects on the TRS system, and it won’t cost Texas any additional funding.

Please use our Action Alert to contact your Representatives.

SB 12 Update

SB 12 is now eligible for consideration by the State Senate. Last week, the House passed SB 12 with a vote of 145-1. The current version of the bill would provide a supplemental payment to retirees that’s capped at $2,400. The House version of the bill spends approximately $1.4 billion from the state’s General Revenue and ESF funds. If the Senate accepts the House version, the supplemental payment will be paid before Sept. 1, 2020.

If the Senate doesn’t accept the House changes, the bill will be sent to a conference committee. The conference committee would be comprised of five Senators and five Representatives. The legislative session ends May 27.

Golden Ticket Bill

Last week, the Pensions, Investments and Finance Services Committee heard HB 2567 by Giovanni Capriglione (R – South Lake). HB 2576 would allow retirees a one-time opportunity, also known as a “golden ticket,” to return to TRS-Care. It would apply to Medicare-eligible retirees who left TRS-Care after the legislative changes in 2017. It would provide a five-year window to return to TRS-Care. The current law prohibits retirees from return to TRS-Care if they’re over the age of 65.

Thank You

Thank you for your commitment to TRTA. Many bills are in motion that can positively impact your retirement!

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