85th Legislative Session Underway

The 85th Session of the Texas Legislature began yesterday, January 10, 2017. Members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) eagerly have awaited the opportunity to welcome returning and newly elected officials to the Texas Capitol, and are ready to work with all Senators and Representatives to protect public education retirees’ vital benefits.

Though session began yesterday, many bills were filed prior to the beginning of session, including some that pertain to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) pension fund.

TRTA encourages its members to stay updated about filed legislation by using the resources found at the following links: www.capitol.state.tx.us or www.lrl.state.tx.us. You can search for bills you would like to track by using keywords, and even sign up for email alerts as bills progress through the stages of passage.

These sites can also be used to locate contact information for your elected officials. Click here to view the members of the Texas House of Representatives. Click here to view the members of the Texas Senate.

Earlier this week, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced that $104.87 billion in state funds would be available as lawmakers craft the state budget for the next two-year cycle. The general revenue fund has decreased by 2.7 percent since the 84th Legislative Session held in 2015.

Members, this will be a tough session. We know we face many challenges when it comes to funding the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.

We have many friends in the Texas Legislature, and we will work with all elected officials across the aisle to accomplish great things for our deserving public education retirees. What we accomplish as an organization cannot be done without our individual members’ dedication and perseverance!

Now is our opportunity to reach out to the Texas Legislature and work with them to find better options for TRS-Care. Without your input, this effort will be more challenging.

If you have not done so already, please write a letter to your Texas state legislators using the template found on page 5 in the fourth quarter issue of The VOICE that arrived in your mailbox in December.

Or, download the template here!

Please mail your letters to:

TRTA

Attn: TRS-Care

313 E. 12th Street, Suite 200

Austin, TX 78701

If you are not sure who your Texas State Senator and Texas State Representative are, please visit this link and enter your address to find out who represents you on issues affecting your retirement benefits!

We have received hundreds of your letters already. Let’s see if we can receive thousands of letters at the TRTA office in Austin by January 20!

Our state legislative committee will begin meeting with Senators and Representatives by the end of the month, and they are excited to hand-deliver your personal notes to your elected officials. Nothing has a greater impact on your legislators than telling your story in your own words!

We want every legislator to receive a letter, in fact, multiple letters! Even if you think your Senator or Representative already has received several letters, send in another one.

Let them know that you want to be a part of the solution. Ask them for their help in ensuring that public education retirees have access to quality, affordable health care!

Additionally, communicate with your fellow friends and family members who are not TRTA members about the TRS-Care crisis. If you really want to help us grow TRTA membership, give your recent bulletin to a fellow retiree who is not a member. You can also take it to your former school, and ask the staff to leave the bulletin in a teacher common room. We must have the strongest voice possible to protect TRS and its vital retirement security programs.

Thank You

Thank you for your membership to TRTA. If you are not yet a member, we need you to help us protect your retirement security. Please join TRTA today!

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