ACTION ALERT: Thank your legislator here!

Last week, the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) held its 62nd Annual Convention in Austin, Texas on April 6-7, followed by an exciting Day at the Capitol event on April 8.

Nearly 1,000 members joined us for the Convention, held at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin. Convention attendees and hundreds of additional local TRTA members joined forces at the Texas Capitol last Wednesday for TRTA’s Day at the Capitol. The membership group gathered to meet with legislators, be honored in both the Texas Senate and House and enjoy an old-fashioned ice cream social.

During Convention, TRTA members attended numerous training and informational sessions, learning how to effectively perform the duties of district and local unit officers. All 2015-2016 Resource Guides are available for download from the TRTA website by clicking here.

Dora Scott-Nichols holds her E.L. Galyean award with Tim Lee (left) and Fran Plemmons (right).
Dora Scott-Nichols holds her E.L. Galyean award with
Tim Lee (left) and Fran Plemmons (right).

Members also enjoyed a welcome dinner, wherein longtime member and former TRTA State President Dora H. Scott-Nichols was honored with the E.L. Galyean Service Award, TRTA’s highest honor.

Although the length of the Convention was truncated, members focused on the business of each day efficiently, participating in District caucuses and attending the House of Delegates. No bylaws amendments were passed this year, though a resolution to promote membership in TRTA local units was passed.

During the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) breakfast on April 7, districts, local units and individual members donated an astounding $10,400! To see a list of donors, please click here. Tom Pritchard and Mike Lehr were also honored during the breakfast for their years of service, leadership and dedication.

Several legislators spoke with TRTA members during Day at the Capitol on the east lawn and encouraged the protection and improvement of the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.

Rep. Roberto Alonzo meets with TRTA leadership.
Rep. Roberto Alonzo meets with TRTA leadership.

A special thank you to those who came out to speak with us, including Sen. Jose Menendez (D – San Antonio), Rep. Jim Keffer (R – Eastland), Rep. Roberto Alonzo (D – Dallas), Rep. Ron Reynolds (D – Missouri City) and Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R – Odessa).

During its resolution honoring public education retirees in Texas, the Senate announced its intention to fund the TRS-Care shortfall in the amount of $770 million. The announcement was met with cheers of joy that were acknowledged by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

In fact, the Austin American-Statesman’s Quote of the Day for April 8, 2015 was, “We do not usually allow applause in the Senate gallery, but we’re making an exception,” as stated by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick when a large group of visiting retired teachers frequently interrupted a series of floor speeches singing the praises of their profession with long, loud cheers.

Bill Barnes is interviewed by KVUE reporter Amber Downing.
Bill Barnes is interviewed by KVUE reporter Amber Downing.

Local television station KVUE featured a great story about TRTA Day at the Capitol, including several interviews with retired school personnel. You can view the video here.

Thank you to all of our members and friends who attended the TRTA Convention and Day at the Capitol, as well as to the members who reached out to legislators via phone calls and email on April 8. TRTA was definitely heard and felt on April 8!

We will continue to work hard throughout the remainder of the Legislative Session to ensure that funding for TRS-Care is finalized in conference committee, and will work with our legislators on other pending legislation, such as supplemental payments and cost-of-living increases.

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 our broad legislative agenda, including any bills concerning TRS-Care, the continued funding of the TRS pension trust fund, pension increases for all TRS retirees, and also congressional issues such as the WEP and GPO.

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.