Senate Bill 12 Postponed in House Until Next Week

Executive Summary:

  • At 3:30 PM (CDT) TRTA’s Tim Lee and Bill Barnes will hold a Facebook Live event answering member questions!
  • Please keep calling (1.888.674.3788) and emailing your Representatives asking for their support of SB 12!
  • SB 12 delayed by one week in the Texas House
  • The bill’s author is using the time to refine the bill

Earlier this week, members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) were informed that debate would occur and a vote would be taken on the House version of Senate Bill 12 (SB 12). The bill, which was going to be heard on Tuesday, April 16, has now been postponed.

Be sure to tune in today at 3:30 PM (CDT) to TRTA’s Facebook page for a Facebook Live event with Tim Lee and Bill Barnes. They will be answering member questions. The broadcast will also be available afterwards on the Facebook page in the videos section.

SB 12 is the Senate’s version of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) actuarial soundness bill. SB 12 passed the Senate with a vote of 31-0 in favor of the bill on March 25 and was then sent to the House Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee (PIFS) in early April.

SB 12 is now on the schedule in the Texas House for next week on Thursday, April 25. The bill’s author opted to postpone SB 12, allowing another week to work on the bill.

As we get closer to the end of the legislative session, strategic decision-making can sometimes lead to delays in a bill’s progress. This does not mean, however, that SB 12 will not continue through the legislative process and receive a vote.

TRTA members know the legislative session is full of twists and turns and nothing should be taken for granted. We also know that now is not the time to give up hope, as we feel strongly that Chairman Greg Bonnen is working hard to make sure TRS and TRS retirees benefit as much as possible under his bill. It is certainly possible that any changes made to the bill over the next week will improve it.

TRTA is steadfast in its support of the House and Senate and the work they are doing to ensure solvency of the TRS pension fund and provide retirees with a benefit increase this session.

The House plan for SB 12 in its present form:

  • Makes the TRS pension system actuarially sound by increasing the state contribution rate only and does not increase the contributions percentages for active employees or TRS-covered employers who do not pay Social Security.
  • The state contribution would increase to 7.8 percent in 2020 and 8.05 percent in 2021 on its way to an eventual increase to an 8.8 percent contribution rate by 2025.
  • Provides for a one-time supplemental payment no later than September 2020 in the amount of the member’s regular monthly annuity, not to exceed $2,400. By comparison, the Senate version of the bill caps the payment at $500.
  • Provides for an overall biennial appropriation of state funds at $1.4 billion to pay for the increased state contribution percentage and the one-time supplemental payment.

Now is the time for TRTA members to reassert their support for SB 12 and ask House members to keep retiree issues in the forefront of legislative action. Though many retirees are anxious to see SB 12 move forward, it is important to understand and support the need for ongoing discussion and potential refinement or improvement.

TRTA remains eager to hear about the bill’s development and looks forward to its favorable support from the Texas House. We strongly support increased funding to the TRS pension fund, and we know that many retirees are in desperate need of a supplemental payment or other benefit increase. We support any financial increases that will help TRS retirees. TRTA encourages passage and a strong commitment from legislators to vote favorably on the House’s version of the SB 12 plan.

Send an email to your Representative today asking for their support of SB 12!

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.

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