Today, Thursday, May 18, the Senate Finance Committee will have a public hearing on HJR 2, the constitutional amendment associated with Senate Bill 10. As members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) may recall, Senate Bill 10 is the bill currently under consideration by a conference committee to provide eligible Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) retirees with a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and supplemental payment.
- Members, to watch a live webcast of the Senate Finance Committee meeting, please visit this website then click on Senate Committee on Finance. TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee plans to testify at the hearing.
TRTA last reported on May 5 that the conferees appointed to negotiate the final version of SB 10 are: Senators Joan Huffman (Chair), Donna Campbell, Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, Lois Kolkhorst, and Robert Nichols and Representatives Greg Bonnen (Chair), Giovanni Capriglione, Barbara Gervin-Hawkins, Oscar Longoria, and Gary VanDeaver.
HJR 2 originally required that a constitutional amendment be passed by Texas voters this November to ensure final passage of a COLA and supplemental payment for eligible TRS retirees. However, upon laying out SB 10 and HJR 2 before the Texas House on April 28, Representative Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood) presented an amendment to SB 10 that would make the supplemental payments for TRS retirees effective regardless of the passage of the constitutional amendment, which was adopted. The COLA currently is still tied to HJR 2.
TRTA has informed legislative leaders that we are in favor of separating the COLA from the HJR.
Members, as a reminder, there are still many steps to be taken to pass a bill for TRS retirees. With a little less than two weeks left in legislative session, things may still change with bill language. We expect to go until the end of session before a final version of the bill is passed and before we know with absolute certainty what percentage of COLA and what amount of supplemental payment may be included.