Budget Deal, Voucher Vote, Bathroom Bill

–First Look at a State Budget Deal –Voucher Bill on Senate Agenda for Vote Sunday Evening –Transgender “Bathroom” Bill Returning as an Amendment? First Look at a State Budget Deal:  A House-Senate conference committee on the state budget bill for the next two fiscal years came to an agreement at 1 a.m. Saturday night. Final […]

Fox Takes Up Residence in Henhouse at Pension Review Board

Josh McGee, a prominent critic of guaranteed retirement benefits for public employees, will now be chairing the State Pension Review Board, thanks to a two-thirds vote in the Texas Senate Thursday. McGee’s appointment by Gov. Greg Abbott was snagged for weeks because of grass-roots opposition that translated into a blocking minority of 11 senators depriving […]

House Proposal on Retiree Health Care is an Improvement, But More is Needed

Texas AFT testified Monday on a newly unveiled House proposal to address the funding shortfall for TRS-Care, the state program affording health coverage to retired school employees. HB 3976 by Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) is a considerable improvement over the Senate plan in SB 788 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston). Under HB 3976 the deductible […]

Bills on the Move (or Not) in the Texas Legislature

As the Legislature takes a break until Monday for the Easter/Passover holiday, there’s news to report on a number of bills of importance to education employees. With just 46 days left in the 2017 regular session, some major bills are on the move, while some others are not. Educator misconduct:  SB 7, the bill by Sen. […]

TRS-Care Bill Hazardous for Retirees

As early as Tuesday the Senate may vote on SB 788, the bill by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) that cuts benefits and raises costs for TRS-Care recipients who are not yet eligible for Medicare. While Medicare-eligible retirees may face higher costs, too, they at least would be assured under the bill of a decent level […]

Coming Up in the Texas Legislature the Week of April 10

Now that the House has passed its own version of the state budget in place of the Senate’s in SB 1, time-honored ritual requires the Senate to reject the House effort, triggering appointment of a conference committee to iron out the differences. Though news reports have emphasized differences between the two versions that are many […]

House Plan for State Budget Coming to a Vote April 6; Other Action at the Capitol

House Plan for State Budget Coming to a Vote April 6:  The House is scheduled to vote on its version of the 2018-19 budget bill, SB 1, on April 6. Also set to be voted on that day is the supplemental spending bill for fiscal 2017, HB 2. Pre-filing of amendments to the budget bills […]

Legislative Wrap-Up for March 17

Controversial Pick for Pension Board Faces Texas Senate Opposition: Serious opposition has developed in the Texas Senate to the appointment of Josh McGee to serve as chair of the State Pension Review Board. McGee is a prominent critic of state-guaranteed pension benefits and is employed by a foundation in Houston that has led attacks on […]

Remove the Fox from the Pension Henhouse!

Send your letter now telling your senator to vote “No” on putting a fox in the pension henhouse! Houston-based hedge-fund billionaire and former Enron trader John Arnold for years has mounted an attack on public pensions providing guaranteed lifetime benefits that you cannot outlive—pension plans like your Texas Teacher Retirement System. Arnold’s attacks have been […]