Legislative Updates

Senate Finance Meets to Discuss SB 19

Today, Saturday, July 22, the Senate Finance Committee met to discuss Senate Bill 19. The bill was filed for the first called special session of the 85th Legislature by Senator Jane Nelson (R – Flower Mound) and co-authored by Senator Joan Huffman (R – Houston). SB 19 relates to bonuses and salaries for public school classroom teachers and state assistance for the Texas Public School Employees Group Insurance Program, including TRS-Care. 

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Senate Finance to Meet, Lieutenant Governor Shares Message

Tomorrow, Saturday, July 22, 2017, the Senate Finance Committee will meet to discuss Senate Bill 19. The bill was filed for the first called special session of the 85th Legislature by Senator Jane Nelson (R – Flower Mound) and co-authored by Senator Joan Huffman (R – Houston). Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick also created a special video message for Texas retired educators.

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Special Session Update: Legislative Hearings for Education, TRS Issues Begin

Members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) know that it has been a busy week! The first called special session of the 85th Legislature began on Tuesday, July 18, and by the early morning hours of July 20, Governor Greg Abbott announced that TRS-Care funding had been added to the special session call.

Because the special session lasts for just thirty days, items on Governor Abbott’s list will be addressed quickly. Committee meetings will be held even on weekends as our state legislators work to pass legislation on approximately twenty different issues.

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July 20, 2017
Governor Abbott Adds TRS-Care to the Call for Special Session

Early this morning (July 20), the Texas Senate finalized its initial business for the first called session of the 85th Legislature by passing the needed sunset bills for several state agencies. Shortly thereafter, Governor Greg Abbott announced that among his special session priorities, improving funding for the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program has been included.

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Special Session Begins, Tim Lee Meets with Rep. Lance Gooden (ACTION ALERT INCLUDED)

The Texas Legislature kicked off its special session today, and many bills are being filed to address the Governor’s concerns. For many members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA), the issue of TRS-Care funding is foremost on their minds.

TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee spoke today with Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) during a Facebook Live event about his proposal to overhaul state funding for TRS-Care. Gooden’s bill (HB 151) would allocate $1 billion from the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (also known as the Rainy Day Fund) for the program. The funding would dramatically ease the financial pain retirees will experience as a result of changes made to the program during the regular 85th Legislative Session.

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Rep. Gooden Hosting Facebook Live Event Today, July 18, At 3 P.M.

Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) is hosting a Facebook Live event today (July 18) at 3:00 p.m. to discuss his proposal (HB 151) to inject $1 billion into the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program. Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) Executive Director Tim Lee will join Gooden.

The event will be on Gooden’s Facebook page. To receive a reminder from Facebook when the event goes live, you can ‘follow’ Gooden’s page.

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Texans For Public Education Hosts Successful Rally At Texas Capitol, Facebook Live Event With Rep. Gooden Scheduled For July 18 At 3 P.M.

The Texans for Public Education hosted a rally at the Texas Capitol today. The rally drew more than 2,500 educators from all across the state. The purpose of the rally was to draw legislative attention to public education issues, including TRS-Care funding, on the eve of the Legislature’s special session.

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) was well represented at the rally with Tim Lee, TRTA’s Executive Director, being a headline speaker. Lee gave a rousing speech to the crowd, and implored the attendees to remember this event when the Texas election cycle begins. 

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Action Alert: Contact Governor Abbott and Ask that TRS-Care Funding Be a Priority During the Special Session!

UPDATE: TRTA has received information from the Governor's office that the call for special session is sufficient to include addressing TRS issues. We are now asking you to contact the Governor's office and ask that TRS-Care funding be made a priority during the special session!

This has been a busy week for public education retirees in Texas. With multiple proposals on the table, Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) retirees are grateful to know so many state leaders and legislators are looking for ways to improve funding for the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.

Members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) know that House Bill 3976 may have saved the TRS-Care program from complete collapse, but that does not take the sting out of how those changes will impact retirement security for hundreds of thousands of TRS retirees.

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Rallies Planned and Bills Filed: TRTA Readies for Special Session

The Texas Retired Teachers Association’s (TRTA) members have been communicating with fellow retirees, active teachers and their legislators back home since the 85th Legislative Session concluded on Memorial Day.

Many public education retirees in Texas are understandably concerned about how their fixed monthly income will support the impending changes to the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program. As our members may recall, TRS-Care faced a $1 billion shortfall this session. Without legislative action, this shortfall would have fallen entirely on the backs of retirees, causing premiums to spike to an estimated $1,200 to $1,500 per month.

 

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New TRTATV Episode: TRTA Interviews Top TRS Officials

Tim Lee, the Executive Director of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA), hosted a new episode of TRTATV yesterday. Originally, the episode was scheduled to appear on Facebook Live, but due to audio technical issues, the video could not be broadcast live.

Nonetheless, the episode has been recorded with the Executive Director of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Brian Guthrie and the Katrina Daniel, the TRS Chief Health Care Officer.

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