Monday, April 5 through Thursday, April 8, our Texas retired public education employees will be at the granite dome—virtually—talking with their Senators and Representatives about how TRS retirees need a meaningful, permanent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)!

There are several events you will not want to miss, including the Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services (PIFS) Committee hearing on Wednesday, April 7 at 8:00 a.m. This our chance to have bills that would provide a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for TRS retirees heard!

We hope you have been able to send in your red letters already! Please continue to send in your letters throughout the session if you have not yet received your copy of The VOICE.

TRTA has several statewide virtual events planned. If you would like to participate, read ahead! We will also send out reminders every day this week about TRTA’s scheduled activities.

Download the TRTA App

The TRTA App will be your go-to resource for this virtual event! Learn how to download the app here!

Your username and password are the same you would use for the TRTA website. Once you have accessed the app, navigate to the “Events” tab to find the Zoom to the Capitol activities. Here, you can view the schedule, attendees, and speakers! The “Agenda” tab at the top shows the program for each day and allows you to add sessions to your personal agenda under “My Agenda.”

As a bonus, everyone who uses the TRTA App will have several chances to win TRTA-branded merchandise with daily trivia contests or by posting a photo of themselves mailing their red letters in the Red Letter Campaign forum!

Join Us For the Kickoff Event! April 6 at 9:00 A.M.

TRTA President Leroy DeHaven and TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee kick off the state events at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 6.

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86968453426?pwd=bHRUNW1tb3lyTXlyNEVlVGFwV240dz09

Meeting ID: 869 6845 3426
Passcode: 174023

Dial by your location
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

Join Us For a Roundtable Discussion With Tim Lee and Special Legislative Guests! April 6 at 5:00 P.M.

TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee hosts Senator Eddie Lucio and Representative Giovanni Capriglione for a conversation about the 87th Legislative Session and how legislators can help TRS retirees! Join us on YouTube or Facebook!

Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services (PIFS) Committee Hearing! April 7 at 8:00 A.M.

The PIFS Committee is always an important one to watch and pay attention for TRTA members, as the committee hears bills pertaining to TRS. On Wednesday, April 7 at 8:00 a.m., several bills—including those that would provide a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for TRS retirees—will be heard in committee!

Thank you to PIFS Committee Chairman Rafael Anchia for scheduling this important hearing. Multiple bills pertaining to TRS will be heard, including those that affect return-to-work provisions and TRS-Care.

This is a meeting our members will not want to miss! TRTA will stream this meeting to our YouTube and Facebook channels.

Join Us For a Resolution Watch Party! April 7 at 11 A.M.

The Texas Senate (SR 129) have has filed a resolution honoring retired teachers the week of April 5!

TRTA will host a live watch party of the readings on YouTube and Facebook. The stream will start at 11 a.m.!

Join Us For a Zoom to the TRTF Fundraiser and Capitol Wrap-Up! April 7 at 12:00 P.M.

TRTF Board President Mary Nell Short will provide a Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) program update and update attendees on the TRTF Donate Your Date fundraiser. Be sure to stay tuned, because TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee will wrap up the week’s events by talking about our Zoom to the Capitol successes. Join us via YouTube or Facebook!

Advocacy Tips

  1. TRTA is a professional organization and we take pride in our advocacy. Let’s maintain these high standards even though we are virtual this week.
  2. When asking for support on our issues, always be polite, to the point, compelling, heartfelt, and honest. TRTA educates elected officials about our issues and asks for their support. We never attack and demand!
  3. If you do not know the answer to the question, please say TRTA staff will follow up. We have the best and most capable Capitol team in Austin! Send your follow up questions to info@trta.org
  4. Make sure to ask the elected official to take action on our TRTA agenda. Ask if they will co-sponsor our bills or if they will consider it. The TRTA Capitol Team can follow up with them.

Top Issues For the Virtual Meetings

  1. COLA bills (TRTA is focused on a 6% increase capped at $100/month as we believe this is the most allowable under the current actuarial condition. No raise this session risks the future of an increase in the years to come). Bills: SB 2092, HB 3214, and HB 3206 
  2. Sunset bill (makes various reforms at TRS including a TRS ombudsman and various return to work adjustments). Bills: SB 706 and HB 1585
  3. The Tutor Initiative (Coordinates efforts with ISD’s, TEA, and TRS to allow Texas retired teachers to help with online and in-person tutoring) Bill: SB 1356
  4. Return-to-work solutions (reforms the date for current return to work penalty and allows for updates to these rules). Bills: HB 2109, HB 3787, and HB 3207

Suggestions For Virtual Advocacy

  1. Know how to turn your computer mic on and off. The MUTE button is your best friend!
  2. Smile and show interest in the meeting. Elected officials are extremely busy this time of session. If they are able to be on your call, they really are making you and your concerns a high priority!
  3. Have fun, be friendly, and ask them to support our issues. They may not immediately say yes, but let them know we appreciate their consideration and TRTA will follow up.
  4. Always know that a live camera and live mic sees and hears all. Let them see and hear passionate TRTA members! You are our most powerful resource in TRTA!!
  5. Brevity and focus are the keys to successful engagement. Legislators appreciate concise questions, good feedback, and being treated respectfully. We all know the state of the political dialogue in the country. We stand out because of our professional, kind, direct and appreciative tone.