Topic: Pensions

A Notable TRS Bill: New Law on Return to Work

Under previous law, TRS retirees wishing to work for a school district or any other TRS-covered employer faced the loss of retirement pension benefits unless they met the criteria for any of a number of specific exemptions. SB 1669, which was passed by the Texas legislature in May and took effect on June 17, simplifies provisions for such “employment after...

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Notable TRS Funding Legislation of 2011

The folks calling the shots at the state capitol profess to be full of tender solicitude for the teachers and other school employees who, after a career in service to the schoolchildren of our state, now depend on Teacher Retirement System pensions and health insurance. But here are the facts about the treatment of TRS retirees in the 2011 regular...

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Legacy of the 2011 Legislature: Needless Harm to Students, Teachers, and Schools

Linda Bridges, president of Texas AFT, the 65,000-strong Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers, offered this observation Wednesday in a press statement marking the end of the special legislative session that began May 31: The governor, lieutenant governor, and House speaker in this year’s regular and special sessions have led a shameful retreat from the state’s financial commitment...

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Still Time for Lawmakers to Do Right by Retirees

An amendment to SB 1 by Rep. Larry Gonzales, Republican of Round Rock, would authorize a much-needed bit of financial relief for Teacher Retirement System annuitants. Help the legislature do right by retirees—click here to send your state senator and state representative a letter in support of the Gonzales amendment to authorize a 13th check for TRS retirees. Here’s the...

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Bills on the Move, for Good or Ill

With just over 30 days to go in the regular session of the Texas legislature, here are some of the notable bills that moved ahead, for good or ill, during the past week. SB 718 by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Democrat of San Antonio, makes a reasonable change in the Safe Schools Act to focus discretionary expulsions from disciplinary...

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Bad-Bill Watch, Part Two: Attack on TRS Pensions (HB 2506) Draws Heavy Opposition

A bill to tear down the pension systems for Texas school employees and Texas state workers drew heavy opposition from witnesses testifying in the House Pensions Committee this evening at the state capitol, including Texas AFT spokesman Ted Melina Raab.  HB 2506 by Rep. Warren Chisum, Republican from Pampa, would replace the current, guaranteed-benefit pension plans with an individual retirement...

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Bill to Undermine Guaranteed TRS Pension Benefits on Committee Agenda Tuesday

Texas AFT will testify in vehement opposition tomorrow to a bill in the House Pension Committee that would put an end to the defined-benefit TRS pension system for all those hired after August 2012. The bill, HB 2506 by Rep. Warren Chisum, Republican of Pampa, would mandate that newly hired school employees enter a defined-contribution plan instead. Chisum's bill is...

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TRS Pensions, Health Benefits Under Scrutiny at State Capitol—Let Facts Trump Ideology

It’s no secret that operatives on the far right of the political spectrum see the current state revenue shortfall as a heaven-sent opportunity to shrink and shirk state obligations. One of their prime targets is the defined-benefit pension program run by the Teacher Retirement System. They have tried to capitalize on scary headlines from other states such as Illinois, where...

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TRS Pension Fund Shows Big Gains, But Benefit Improvements Still Lag

The Texas Teacher Retirement System’s pension fund has made big gains over the past year. As of September 30, the fund had recorded a gain of more than 12 percent—well above the annual target of 8 percent called for by TRS actuarial consultants, and better than the rate of return on any other major public pension fund in the nation....

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Upcoming: Action Items on Retirement Issues

Following up on last week’s call by Texas AFT President Linda Bridges for a thorough, impartial investigation of alleged political mischief involving your pension fund at the Teacher Retirement System, this week we will offer you an online opportunity to have your say in the matter, too. Also keep an eye on upcoming Hotline messages for a new action opportunity...

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Texas AFT Speaks Out for Active and Retired School Employees at TRS Budget Hearing

Texas AFT legislative spokesman Ted Melina Raab called for "decent pensions and health care for all education employees, active and retired" in testimony at a state Legislative Budget Board hearing today. Melina Raab said Texas AFT supports the full spending request submitted by the Texas Teacher Retirement System, which seeks a sizable boost in the state's contribution rate to the...

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