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Recapping the House Pensions Committee’s April 7 meeting

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Retirement | TRS | Social Security Texas Legislature

Date Posted: 4/08/2021 | Author: Monty Exter

The House Pensions, Investments and Financial Services (PIFS) Committee heard several ATPE-supported bills related to TRS at its April 7 hearing. The largest tranche of bills aims to give retirees a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and/or an additional annuity payment, often referred to as a 13th check. These bills included:

  • House Bill (HB) 672 by Rep. Armando Martinez (D – Weslaco) calls for an annual COLA based on the rate of inflation, so long as the TRS pension fund is deemed actuarially sound.
  • HB 1124 by Rep. Sergio Munoz, Jr. (D – Mission) calls for a one-time COLA of the lesser of 3% or $100 per month. Rep Munoz’s bill also calls for TRS to study the possibility of providing future COLAs.
  • HB 1846 by Rep. Alma Allen (D – Houston), likely the most generous of the COLAs, calls for a 13th check equal to one month’s annuity payment or $2,000, whichever is greater, in addition to a one-time 10% COLA and an ongoing 4% COLA.
  • HB 3214 by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R – Keller) calls for a one-time COLA of the lesser of 6% or $100 per month.
  • HB 3507 by Rep. Glenn Rogers (R – Graford) calls for a 13th check equal to one month’s annuity payment or $2,000, whichever is greater.
  • HB 4205 by Rep. Yvonne Davis (D – Dallas) calls for a 10% one-time COLA plus an annual COLA tied to the inflationary increase for Social Security.
The second largest group of bills heard by the committee Wednesday addresses barriers related to retire/rehire provisions for educators. The two primary barriers at issue are a surcharge levied against school districts when they hire a retired educator and a penalty on educators who don’t observe the 12-month sit-out period after they first retire before going back to work more than half-time. These bills included the following:
  • HB 2109 by Rep. Gene Wu (D – Houston) seeks to give increased leniency to retirees who go over the half-time limitation on working without having first sat out the required 12 months. Under current law, the retiree would forfeit their annuity for any month in which they worked more than half-time. The bill reduces the penalty for a first violation to a warning; the second violation to a warning and a reduced financial penalty; and the third violation to the full loss of the retiree’s monthly annuity.
  • HB 2109 has an identical Senate companion, Senate Bill (SB) 288 by Sen. Kel Seliger (R – Amarillo), that ATPE also supported when it was heard this week by the Senate Finance Committee.
  • HB 3207 by Rep. Abel Herrero (D – Corpus) waives the retire/rehire penalty in its entirety during a declared disaster, such as COVID-19 or a hurricane, within the geographic area covered by the disaster. 
The final TRS-related bill supported by ATPE that the PIFS Committee heard this week was HB 2022 by Rep. Drew Darby (R – San Angelo). The bill allows a Medicare-eligible TRS retiree who dropped their TRS-Care health insurance coverage between 2017 and 2019 a one-time opportunity to reenroll in TRS-Care prior to January 1, 2024. HB 2226 by Rep Jarvis Johnson (D-Houston), HB 3209 by Rep. Herrero, and HB 3554 by Rep. Penny Morales Shaw are all identical to HB 2022 but were not heard by the committee.


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