Legislative Updates

Special Session Final Days! Call Your Legislator TODAY!

As members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) know, the first called special session of the 85th Legislature has proceeded at a breakneck pace since it began on July 18. Next Wednesday, August 16, special session will come to an end. Legislation to help retired educators this session is still pending.

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ACTION ALERT: Final Days of Session, Contact Your Legislators to Pass TRS-Care Funding

The Texas Legislature’s special session will soon be over, and the clock is ticking to pass bills related to TRS-Care reform. The special session will come to a close next Wednesday, Aug. 16 at 12 PM. Two bills, HB 20 and SB 19, have been passed out of their respective chambers, and each proposes a similar result: $212.7 million in funding for TRS-Care to reduce pre-65 retirees’ deductibles and premiums. However, these bills have a point of contention between the House and the Senate, their funding mechanism.

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Texas House Passes HB 20 and HB 80

The Texas House met today to discuss two bills relating to retired educators. HB 20 would provide $212.7 million in financial relief for TRS-Care. The bill would result in reduced premiums and deductibles for retirees under the age of 65. HB 20 passed with a vote of 130-10.

The bill came under significant scrutiny for its use of the Rainy Day Fund (RDF) to provide retired educators financial relief. Some legislators consider the bill to be a “false promise” to retired educators, as the Texas Senate has expressed opposition towards using the RDF. 

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HB 20, 80 Heading to the House Floor for a Vote

As the first called special session of the 85th Legislature continues, members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) are watching for movement on bills impacting their retirement benefits. As TRTA reported recently, several bills already have been discussed in the Senate and the House regarding adding funding to the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.

Tomorrow, August 1, House Bill 20 by Chairman Trent Ashby (R – Lufkin) is scheduled for a vote on the House floor. HB 20 would appropriate $212.7 million from the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) to bring down premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses for participants in TRS-Care. A description of the proposed changes in HB 20 can be found below.

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Senate Passes SB 19, House Appropriations Discusses TRS Bills
  • TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee appeared on Capital Tonight on the Austin Spectrum News channel on Monday evening, July 24. Watch the video here (Lee appears about 10 minutes into the video)
  • Full Senate passes Senate Bill 19, sends bill to the House
  • House Appropriations discusses various TRS Bills 
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House Appropriations Meets Tomorrow, Expanded Review of Senate Bill 19

As the first called special session of the 85th Legislature continues, members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) are hearing intense discussions about bills that may impact their retirement benefits.

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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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