TRS-Care health cost increases reduced for retirees—“softening the blow”

After an outcry erupted from thousands of active and retired teachers and other school employees over cost increases imposed on school retirees by the Legislature this spring, lawmakers in their summer special session ponied up an additional $212 million to scale back the increases. The Teacher Retirement System board was given the task of spending […]

Recapping the special session, part one

We have much to be thankful for in relation to the July-August special session of the Texas Legislature—primarily for the fact that it is over. The session called by Gov. Greg Abbott that ran from July 18 through August 15 ended with Abbott and his sidekick Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick frustrated by their failure to […]

When brutal cost increases and benefit reductions in the state retired teachers’ health-care plan awakened a “sleeping giant,” legislators took notice

TRS-Care bolstered just before the House’s dramatic sine die I retired in May of 2013 after a 29-year teaching career, one in Brownsville ISD and 28 in McAllen ISD.  Before I retired, I looked carefully at the three Teacher Retirement System health-care options (TRS-Care)–tiers 1, 2, and 3.  I chose the one with the best […]

House accepts stripped-down Senate school-funding bill with TRS-Care cost relief, then shuts down special session

The Texas House voted 94 to 46 this evening to accept a stripped-down Senate version of HB 21 on school funding. The Senate amendments to HB 21 eliminated $1.5 billion of the $1.8 billion in the House-passed version, completely eliminating the main sources of any new aid to cash-strapped urban districts–a proposed increase in the […]

Anti-teacher amendment rejected in Texas House; deal on school funding delayed in Texas Senate; TRS-Care cost relief for retirees coming to House floor Tuesday

An anti-teacher amendment was rejected decisively by a bipartisan majority in the Texas House late on Monday afternoon. Rep. Bill Zedler (R-Arlington) tried to insert the anti-teacher amendment into SB 16, a bill creating a commission to study long-term fixes for school finance and recommend a comprehensive overhaul before the next regular legislative session in […]

Fight goes on for school funding, TRS retirees’ health-care cost relief

With six days left in the current 30-day special session of the Texas Legislature, not a single bill has been passed and sent to Gov. Greg Abbott, despite Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s ardent efforts to push through many hot-button proposals, including private-school vouchers and transgender-discrimination mandates. Still alive in the special session are important school-funding […]

Get it done! TRS retirees need health-care cost relief NOW

The Texas House and Texas Senate both have passed competing bills providing $212 million to cut rising health-care costs they recently imposed on retired school employees. The House passed HB 20 and the Senate passed an equivalent provision as  part of SB 19 in direct response to grass-roots pressure from retired and active school employees. […]

Get it done! TRS retirees need health-care cost relief NOW

The Texas House and Texas Senate both have passed competing bills providing $212 million to cut rising health-care costs they recently imposed on retired school employees. These bills need to be reconciled quick for retirees to get relief. Please send your e-letter now to your state representative and state senator with a blunt message: Get it done!

TRS-Care Relief for Retirees, Potential TRS Pension Cost-of-Living Increase on Tap

The Texas House on Tuesday will vote on two bills to give retired school employees a better deal. HB 20 by Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) would use $212 million from the Rainy Day Fund to reduce health-care cost increases facing retirees starting in January under the TRS-Care health plan. TRS-Care participants under age 65 would […]

Funding Bill for School-Finance Increases Advancing in House

The House Appropriations Committee voted 22 to 0 today for HB 30 by Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond), a bill that would fund school-finance improvements to the tune of $1.9 billion for the coming fiscal 2018-2019 budget period beginning on September 1. The funding bill has strong bipartisan support, as evidenced by that unanimous committee vote. […]