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 […]

Pension Peril: It’s Your Fight, Too

A batch of dangerous bills pending in the Texas Legislature would take away guaranteed pension benefits from municipal employees and set the template for future attacks on state pension funds like the one run by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. Our first line of defense against pension takeaways affecting TRS is to help city […]

Increased School Aid Wins Overwhelming Vote in Texas House; Senate Names Budget Team; TRS Board Elections

Increased School Aid Wins Overwhelming Vote in Texas House:  The big school-finance bill of the 2017 session,  HB 21 by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston), was approved by an overwhelming margin of 134 to 16 Wednesday night after hours of debate on amendments but with no major changes. Texas AFT supported the bill, which would provide […]

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 […]

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 […]

State House and Senate Differ Markedly on Budget for Schools

The Texas Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday approved a draft 2018-19 budget (SB 1) that would let per-pupil funding for public schools stagnate, keeping the basic allotment for all districts at the same level as in 2016. Under the Senate plan, the state would actually reduce the amount of state general revenue for schools substantially, […]

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 […]

Committee Vote Coming Up on Fox in the Pension Henhouse; School Finance and Property Tax News

Committee Vote Coming Up on Fox in the Pension Henhouse: The Senate Nominations Committee is due to act March 16 on a State Pension Review Board appointee known for his criticism of guaranteed pension benefits. Josh McGee, Gov. Greg Abbott’s choice to chair the Review Board, is a functionary of the Houston-based Arnold Foundation that […]

Texas AFT Recommends Charleston in TRS Trustee Election

The 2017 TRS trustee nomination election is under way from now until May 5. The Texas AFT executive council has endorsed the reappointment of Karen Charleston for a seat on the Teacher Retirement System of Texas board of trustees. Charleston has served as a TRS trustee since 2011, when she was appointed to what was […]