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TRTA Legislative Updates

September 12, 2017
TRTF Disaster Relief Fund Raises More than $100,000! Hurricane Harvey Grants Now Available

As members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) know, TRTA’s charitable partner organization, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) has been raising funds to provide financial assistance for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

TRTF is pleased to announce that thanks to the overwhelming outpour of generosity from TRTA members, friends and supporters, we have raised more than $120,000 so far!

The TRTF Board of Trustees is so very thankful for your support. As a result of receiving these donations, TRTF has been able to set up a Disaster Relief Fund and already has been disbursing financial assistance to retired and active educators in the affected counties.

September 11, 2017
TRS Accepting RSVPs for Health Care Information Seminars

As the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) reported recently, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) has established a plan for informing plan participants about changes to TRS-Care, including the start and end dates for the much-anticipated in-person retiree seminars that will begin in October.

The original plan was for TRS to have 88 meetings over 40 days, but those plans have since been altered due to Hurricane Harvey. Due to flooding in Houston and the surrounding areas, many event centers are not available for in-person sessions. TRS has added webinars for those unable to attend one of the in-person sessions.

TRS has released the schedule for these seminars, and retirees will have the opportunity to RSVP via telephone starting today, September 11, 2017. Please view the charts below as well for dates and times. TRS released this flyer to inform plan participants about the coming changes to TRS-Care.

September 5, 2017
TRS Board Adopts Legislative Changes to TRS-Care

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees met Friday, September 1, 2017 to approve the new TRS-Care retiree health insurance plans as laid out during the first called Special Session of the 85th Texas Legislature. As members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) may recall, Governor Greg Abbott added TRS-Care to the special session call this summer after retirees across the state expressed serious concerns about high deductibles and premiums.

August 31, 2017
A Special Message from TRTA and TRTF

A special message from TRTA President Nancy Byler, TRTF President Jamie Larson, and TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee!

ALSO: TRTA is preparing to attend tomorrow’s Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees meeting, and has some valuable information to share with members!

The TRS Board of Trustees Board Meeting Book includes the timeline of events for the rollout of the new TRS-Care plans that go into effect on January 1, 2018. This communications timeline will help plan participants understand how the process will unfold over the next few months. Look to Tab 9 in the book for additional details.

August 30, 2017
TRS Board to Meet Friday, TRTF Receives Thousands in Donations for Hurricane Victims

The TRS Board of Trustees will hold a meeting this Friday, Sept. 1 to discuss implementing the changes made by the Texas Legislature to the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program. It is expected that the Board will approve the changes as recommended by the Legislature.

As our members may recall, as a result of additional funding being provided by the Legislature during the recent summer special session, deductibles and premiums for retirees in the TRS-Care plans will be reduced from the amounts approved during the regular legislative session. You can read about the projected changes by clicking here.

August 28, 2017
Hurricane Harvey Resources for TRTA Members

Members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) are aware of Hurricane Harvey’s shocking and pervasive effects, as the storm ravaged the Texas coast over the weekend and caused significant flooding and damage to inland cities as well.

While we do not have any information on how TRTA have been affected by the storm so far, TRTA wants to remind members of valuable resources and aid that may be available to them. 

August 16, 2017
Texas House Passes $212 Million in Funding for TRS-Care, Sends Bill to Governor

The Texas House and Senate came to an agreement on funding TRS-Care and have passed HB 21. HB 21 will provide $212 million towards TRS-Care, the state-run retiree health insurance program.

The funding will help retirees who are both pre-65 and over-65. Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign this bill into law.

August 15, 2017
Senate Adds TRS-Care Funding to House Bill 21

On Monday, August 14, the Texas Senate met to discuss and vote upon the school finance bill, House Bill 21. As the Senate discussed the bill, several amendments were offered from the floor, including one pertaining to legislation that adds funding for the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program. The Texas House will also continue discussion and voting today (August 15) on Senate Bill 19.

 

August 14, 2017
Senate Bill 19 On House Calendar for August 15

As members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) know, there is a limited amount of time left to pass legislation providing more funding for TRS-Care during the first called special session of the 85th Legislature. The special session will end this Wednesday, August 16.

August 13, 2017
Urgent Member Alert: Call Your State Leaders NOW; Ask Them to Send a TRS-Care Bill to the Governor!

Time is running out to pass legislation during special session to approve additional funding for TRS-Care! Members, please help by getting on the phone NOW--throughout the weekend (even on Sunday) and continuing into early next week! Call your state leaders today: Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Patrick, and Speaker Straus! Phone numbers are included in the text of this alert!

August 11, 2017
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.

August 7, 2017
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.

August 1, 2017
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. 

July 31, 2017
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.

July 31, 2017
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 
July 24, 2017
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.

July 22, 2017
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. 

July 22, 2017
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.

July 21, 2017
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.

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.