TRTA Members Still Have Time to Call or Email
 
A vote on the House “fiscal matters” bill was postponed yesterday, but will come up today. HB 3639 is used to make state policy copacetic with the House version of the Texas budget. One of the provisions in this legislation, however, suggests a permanent DECREASE in state funding for the TRS-Care health insurance program.
 
State Representative Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) is working to resolve this situation. He is offering an amendment to HB 3639 that will make this reduced state contribution to TRS-Care a TEMPORARY, one biennium change. Representative Gooden is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and knows the hardships that retirees are currently facing due to no cost of living increases in 10 years.
 
TRTA has been informed that State Representative Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio) also is working on an amendment to resolve the TRS-Care funding issue. Representative Villarreal is a long-time supporter of public education retirees and a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
 
Representatives Gooden and Villarreal are working with TRTA to ensure this situation is not used to create a new, permanent funding requirement for TRS-Care.
 
TRTA members are encouraged to call their legislators using the TRTA “Call Your Legislator Hotline” (1-888-674-3788) and ask them to “support the Gooden and Villarreal amendments on HB 3639 to protect TRS health care” (sorry, there are no bill numbers for amendments to HB 3639). If you are not sure who your state representative is, please click here(http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us).
 
In addition, please send an email in support of the Gooden and Villarreal Amendments by clicking here.
 
Thank you for your help! We will keep you posted on this important amendment.
 
The Texas Senate will take up their version of the budget today. TRTA is working closely with Senators and asking them to support efforts by Senators Robert Duncan and Steve Ogden to provide higher funding for the TRS-Care program and the TRS pension Trust fund. Senator Duncan’s proposal is designed to keep TRS-Care premiums from increasing by as much as 80 percent. In addition, the proposal restores over $100 million in funding to the TRS pension trust fund.
 
This is a busy week with floor action in the House and budget work in the Senate. This may not be the last “Action Alert” this week. Your contributions are appreciated more than we can say.