UPDATE ON AMENDMENT CHALLENGE: Senate Hears Bill to Address Timeliness of Election Lawsuits

Even though there is no action step that can be taken by TRTA members at this time to resolve the legal challenge to the November vote on Prop 9 and the other constitutional amendments, TRTA can report that our friends in the Texas Legislature are working on our behalf.

On Friday, December 1, the Texas Senate convened to hear Senate Bill 6 in an attempt to address lawsuits recently filed to contest the validity of votes cast regarding all the constitutional amendments in the November 2023 General Election.

The bill, filed by State Senator Bryan Hughes (R, Mineola), would speed up process for these lawsuits to be heard in court. The bill addresses only the lawsuits filed regarding the 2023 November General Election constitutional amendment results and is not retroactive.

In laying out the bill, Senator Hughes expressed the purpose is to have the cases heard quickly and ruled upon quickly, so that a resolution can be made.

Hughes and other Senators mentioned the urgent concern for resolution of these lawsuits in particular as they pertain to the January 2024 implementation of COLAS for retired educators and property tax relief.

As mentioned in an Inside Line sent out earlier, “by law, election-challenge suits cannot be heard for at least 30 days after they are filed. Based on the filing dates, the first hearing cannot be before December 8. Some cannot be heard before December 18.” According to the Texas Tribune, the lawsuits were filed by “right wing activists.”

If passed by both the Texas Senate and House of Representatives, this legislation would expedite the legal proceedings necessary to determine the outcomes of the legal challenge. While it does not remove the legal challenge, it would compress the timelines substantially and move this issue to a resolution. One that TRTA still believes will result in the COLA being implemented for all eligible TRS retirees.

SB 6 passed the Senate with a vote of 23-1. The bill now proceeds to the House for consideration.

TRTA members, please know that the House has not yet acted on this measure and the Governor has not added the issue to the call for the current Special Session. We will be working with the Governor’s office and the Texas House to see what we can do to help move SB 6 (or other similar action items) forward as quickly as possible.

As previously reported, TRTA is following this situation closely. TRTA thanks Chairman Hughes and the members of the Senate for their swift action on this matter. This may be only the first step in a process to ultimately resolve the situation.

TRTA is committed to ensuring that our deserving retirees receive their COLAs, and we will not cease our efforts for any reason. This situation is still developing, and TRTA will keep you posted as more information is received.

Please help to keep TRTA strong by joining or renewing your membership today!

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