Teach the Vote's Week in Review: July 9, 2021
Retirement | TRS | Social Security Texas Legislature
Date Posted: 7/09/2021
Texas lawmakers are back in session. Catch up on the special session in our Week in Review from the ATPE Governmental Relations team.
- Abbott sets lengthy agenda for special session one day prior to its start
- House and Senate committees hear bills to help retired educators
- What’s ahead for the special session?
SPECIAL SESSION: Just 24 hours before the first special session of 2021 began Thursday, July 8, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a list of 11 items for the legislature to consider. Four of those issues affect public education, including changes to social studies curriculum requirements, a 13th check for retired educators, family violence prevention instruction, and restrictions on transgender students’ participation in UIL athletic activities. Read more about what’s on the 30-day special session agenda in this blog post from ATPE Lobbyist Mark Wiggins.
TRS LEGISLATION: After gaveling in the special session Thursday morning, both chambers moved quickly to advance bills that would grant a 13th check to retired educators.
The House Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services (PIFS) Committee held a brief meeting Friday morning to approve House Bill (HB) 85, which would provide a supplemental payment of up to $2,400. The Senate Finance Committee voted Friday afternoon to advance similar legislation, Senate Bill (SB) 7. The Senate version would pay for the 13th check via legislative appropriation, which ATPE believes is preferable to financing it through the TRS pension fund.
ATPE provided committee testimony and issued a press release in support of the bills. Read more in this blog post by ATPE Senior Lobbyist Monty Exter
WHAT’S AHEAD: After weeks of waiting to see how the special session would take shape, the agenda and potential pace are finally coming into view. The House filed dozens of bills and referred them to committees Thursday, then adjourned until Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, the House PIFS and Appropriations Committees met Friday to advance the above-mentioned TRS legislation and a bill to restore funding for the legislative branch, which Gov. Abbott vetoed in the regular session.
The Senate gaveled in briefly Thursday and Friday to file and refer bills, similarly prioritizing retired teachers and restoration of legislative branch funding. Senate committees have scheduled meetings through the weekend to advance other items on the special session call, including the voting bill that prompted the governor’s veto. The full Senate is scheduled to return Monday.
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