Richard Herbst, District Region 20 Legislative Chair, spoke to the Bandera County Retired Teachers at the American Legion Hall in Bandera on Wednesday, October 20, reviewing bills passed in recent legislative sessions that would impact public education retirees.
Senate Bill 12 passed in 2019 and House Bill 1 passed in 2021 changed TRS annuity fund contributions. In 2025, active TRS employees will find their contributions raised from 7.7 percent to 8.25 percent. The state contribution will move from 6.8 per cent to 8.25 percent in 2025. School district contributions will jump from 1.5 percent to 2 percent in 2025. Higher education contributions will remain the same.
Herbst reported Senate Bill 1356 will allow Texas Retired Teachers Association members to offer tutoring services to school districts. House Bill 2220 will allow members to re-enter TRS-Care. Senate Bill 288 is a retiree-friendly return to work bill. House Bill 3207 will allow retirees to return to work more quickly if a disaster strikes the state.
Senate Concurrent Res olution 17 was signed by the Governor in May and urges the federal government to repeal the Government Offset Pension and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) of the Social Security Act. If these were repealed, then participants in the TRS system would be able to collect their earned Social Security benefits.
Federal Representative Richard Neal wrote the non-partisan House Resolution 2337, the Public Servant Protection and Fairness Act that would establish a new, fairer formula for paying Social Security benefits in proportion to the share of a worker’s earnings covered by Social Security. Currently, at least 2 million public servants across the nation are affected by the WEP. Herbst urged members to contact their federal representatives to voice support for HR 2337.
Herbst also related that a Cost-of-Living Allowance for retirees would not be forthcoming from the current Texas special sessions, and he expects the issue to be reintroduced in the 2023 legislative session.
In Old Business, Chapter President Connie Young and Secretary Sarah Baxter displayed a banner for the group purchased by Baxter. Young reported that the
Pizza Scholarship fundraiser was a success and kits would be delivered later in the day.
Second Vice President DeeAnne Mazurek reported the chapter collected approximately 500 books for the Christmas book giveaway to area Pre-K, Kinder and First Graders. The Chapter will present the books on December 1 in Bandera ISD and December 2 in Medina ISD. Mazurek said that they could use more books for the drive and urged members to collect books during November.
In New Business, Young called for the Nominating Committee to put forth a slate of officers for the Chapter. Young would like to vote on the new officers at the November meeting and swear them in at the December meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 11:05 AM and a delicious salad luncheon followed.
For more information about membership in the Bandera County Retired Teacher Association, contact Connie Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 210-737-4835. Local dues are $10 and state dues are $35. The next meeting of the BCRTA will be at the Dixie Dude Ranch at 10AM on November 17.