The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) will host its biennial Day at the Capitol event on April 8, 2015 in conjunction with the 62nd Annual Convention in Austin.

In years past, thousands of Texas public education retirees have filled the halls of the Texas Capitol wearing red shirts and promoting the preservation of the TRS defined benefit plan and TRS-Care retiree health insurance program!

TRTA is expecting just as many retirees, if not more, to arrive this year on the east lawn on the Capitol grounds for a day filled with legislator visits, House and Senate honors, and an old-fashioned ice cream social!

Day at the Capitol Schedule of Events

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 

8am – 9am Legislative Visits (optional).
9:30am House Gallery (start heading to gallery at about 9am).
10am – 2pm Photo opportunities with Legislators.
10:30am Senate Gallery (start heading to gallery at about 10am).
11:30am Rally on the East Lawn.
12pm Additional Legislative Visits (optional).
12pm – 2:30pm Ice Cream Social.

How to Meet Your Legislator Video

Have you ever wanted to meet with your legislator, but felt too intimidated by the process? Our latest video will take the stress out of meeting with your Senators and Representatives. Share and enjoy!

Video Index Video Links
Introduction TRS Handbook
Why Meet Your Legislator Parking Maps
Scheduling Your Appointment Texas Capitol Map
Navigating the Capitol TRS-Care Fact Sheet
Sample Conversation District Addresses (Find Your Legislator)
Follow Up

Capitol Maps

Capitol Grounds

Bus Detail

First and Ground Floor

Second, Third and Fourth Floors

Capitol Extension 1

Capitol Extension 2

Day at the Capitol What to Wear

We are asking all attendees to wear a red shirt to show solidarity and impress legislators with the “Sea of Red” when TRTA members fill the hallways! It is also important to wear comfortable shoes. Traversing the granite floors of the Capitol building can be hard on the feet.

Day at the Capitol What to Bring

For those members attending the TRTA Convention, your Day at the Capitol schedule of activities will be included in your Convention program. You should bring your Convention bag and name badge with you!

If you are attending the Day at the Capitol but not the 62nd Annual Convention, a bag and materials will be provided for you as you enter the Capitol grounds on the East lawn. All attendees will receive a bottle of water and a snack upon arrival.

No matter where you are coming from, be sure to bring your business cards, especially if you plan to meet with legislators or their staff members. Be sure to carry your identification and any pertinent medical information you may need in the event of an emergency.

Shuttles and Parking

While many Convention attendees may choose to park at the JW Marriott and ride a shuttle to the Capitol grounds, those that are travelling to Austin on April 8 or those who prefer to park near the Capitol may do so in one of the many state parking garages located along San Jacinto street (between 12th, 13th and 14th streets). From the state parking garages, the East lawn is a short walk of one block to the west.

If you are staying at the JW Marriott and would like to ride the shuttle to the Texas Capitol, please note that shuttles will begin running in 20 minute intervals at approximately 7:00 a.m. through 10:30 a.m. and will begin returning members to the hotel at 1:30 p.m. through 4:00 p.m. (final pickup time from the Capitol).

If you are with a large group arriving on April 8, please be aware that buses must unload passengers on the east side of the Texas Capitol (on Brazos street). Buses may park along Trinity Street.

Entering the Capitol

Due to the long lines that may form at the Capitol’s east door, TRTA members that are willing and able should utilize alternate Capitol entrances (north, south, and west). Please be aware that the only wheelchair accessible ramp is located at the Capitol’s north entrance.

All Capitol entrance doors require visitors to pass through metal detectors and have their bags searched. Quicker entry into the Capitol is available for persons who have a concealed handgun license. Please use the CHL line if you have your license with you.

Day at the Capitol Scheduled Activities

At approximately 9:30 a.m., Texas public education retirees will be honored with a resolution in the House gallery on the third floor. Since there are several other groups visiting the Capitol that day, we recommend that you try to arrive in the gallery by 9:00 a.m. to find a seat.

If the gallery is full, a short walk across the hallway to the Senate gallery will give members the opportunity to hear a similar resolution by the Texas Senate at 10:30 a.m. (again, arriving half an hour sooner will better enable you to find a seat).

By 11:30 a.m., members may begin gathering on the East Lawn for a rally and ice cream social.

Ice cream will be provided by local Austin favorite Amy’s Ice Cream, and will include vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors. We hope you will enjoy a few moments under the tent and cool off with a delicious treat. Be sure to extend an invitation to your legislators and their staffers to join you!

Appointments with Legislators

The Day at the Capitol schedule allows plenty of time for you to visit with your legislators or their staff members. Please bear in mind that if you want to be present during either the House or Senate resolutions honoring public education retirees, the best times for legislative visits will be either in the early morning or in the afternoon after the ice cream social and rally on the east lawn.

Be sure to prepare enough time between any appointments you have scheduled to maneuver the building, as it is rather large and waits for elevators can be long. Plan for at least 20 minutes between appointments.

To set an appointment with your legislator, call the Legislator Hotline (888.674.3788) and speak with the scheduler in your Senator’s or Representative’s office.

What about Lunch?

TRTA will not provide lunch during the Day at the Capitol event, however, the Capitol Grill (located on floor E1 inside the Capitol) offers a variety of delicious and quick food and beverage options.

Day at the Capitol Photo Opportunities

TRTA staff members will be available to take photos during the day. In order to have a TRTA staff member take your photo, please send an email to info@trta.org (Subject Line: Capitol Photo). Please include the date, time and location of your appointment as well as the number of TRTA members expected to attend the appointment.

Photos will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis! You will be notified if your group has been scheduled with a TRTA staff photographer.

Please note that many legislative staffers at the Capitol will also take your photo with your Senator or Representative and email it to you. Bring a business card to provide them your contact information.

RSVP!

If your district or local unit plans to bring a large group to the Day at the Capitol but is not attending the Convention, please let us know! Send an email to info@trta.org(Subject Line: Capitol RSVP). This will help the TRTA staff ensure that plenty of materials, snacks and water are available for everyone.

Coming on Your Own?

If you are travelling alone and thinking about spending the night, a good place to stay may be the Drury Inn at I-H 35 North (St. John’s Avenue Exit). TRTA members receive 5% discount off Drury’s corporate rates. Contact the Drury Inn for details by calling 1.800.378.7946 and providing Corporate ID #311435 or by visiting www.druryhotels.com and using BizTrip Corporate ID #311435.

Not Attending, but Still Want to Help?

A special email campaign is being developed about the April 8 TRTA Day at the Capitol. Those who are not able to attend may make phone calls and send emails announcing and promoting the event to their legislators.

TRTA is hoping for a tidal wave of grassroots communication about this event to legislative offices from now until the big day. We want every legislator in Texas to know that TRTA is coming to the Capitol on April 8! On the day of the event, TRTA will also have another special email and telephone campaign for those who were not able to come.

Thank You!

TRTA IS THE VOICE FOR EDUCATION RETIREES, and we want to be seen and heard on April 8!

We want to thank all of you who plan to attend or help us communicate with legislators about the big day.

The planning is well underway and we are looking forward to having as many members as possible here for this legislative event. Your phone calls, emails, and presence in Austin are all going to help advance the issues most important to you and your retirement. Again, thank you for all you do!

TRTA will continue to update you on our plans for April 8. For now, we ask that you begin making phone calls and letting your legislators know we are looking forward to SEEING THEM ON APRIL 8! Call 888.674.3788 to reach out to your legislators now!

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.