Capitol Update: Help for Retired Teachers

April 26, 2019

I hope everyone had a blessed Easter. Coming back to Austin after a long weekend is always tough, but there are only 32 days left in the 86th Legislative Session. However, the next few weeks are the busiest weeks of the session. There are many procedural deadlines are rapidly approaching which determine if a bill moves or dies. I encourage you to reach out, either supporting or opposing the various legislation yet to be debated. It is with your input that I am able to best represent you as we finish the 86th Legislative session.

This week the House passed many important pieces of legislation. One of those is SB 12 that was finally passed out of the House this week. SB 12 will provide a long term solution for the Teacher Retirement System (TRS). The House’s version of SB 12 provides for a 13th check for our retired teachers. This is made possible by the $1.3 billion included in the House budget to bring the TRS fund to actuarial soundness over the coming years.

SB 12 passed the House almost unanimously, demonstrating the widespread support for keeping the promise made to our retired school teachers. I am proud to support this legislation and am proud of the legacy that the Legislature has of fighting for our retired teachers.

The House also passed HB 20 this week, which would create the Texas Legacy Fund. This fund would consist of any balance over $7.5 billion from the Rainy Day Fund, which is funded by severance taxes from oil and gas production. This fund would enable to the Comptroller to invest in higher yielding assets with the proceeds being ear marked for the state’s pension plans, which are some of the largest liabilities on our balance sheet. This is a common sense, no-new-taxes solution to a daunting problem for our state.

I am pleased to report that we also passed seven Sunset bills out of the House this week as well. All but one of the bills are Senate bills so if they were not amended in the House, they will head to the Governor’s desk. If they were amended and the Senate does not agree with those changes, there will be a conference committee for both chambers to work out any issues. We have made great progress making the 32 agencies under Sunset review more efficient, effective and transparent this session.

We are in crunch time for the 86th Legislature and there are still many issues to be considered in the final weeks of session. Many of you have reached out with support or concerns about legislation. I would encourage you to keep it coming. I can be reached at or 512-463-0556 (Austin office) or 903-935-1141 (Marshall office).