The Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee voted out several TRS bills last Friday, and another key TRS bill has been scheduled for consideration by the full House Tuesday.
HB 1585 by Rep. Stan Lambert is the TRS Sunset bill. The Sunset recommendations for TRS focused primarily on improving the agency’s relationship with its members through initiatives such as improved communications and outreach and the creation of an ombudsman position. The bill also includes a section revising how retirees who have returned to work and violated the time limitations (working more than half time, for example) are penalized. Currently, the only option TRS has is to withhold or require pay back of the full month’s annuity when limitations are exceeded; the new law would include a first warning before any financial penalties would be imposed. This bill is scheduled for consideration on the House floor Tuesday, April 13. Its counterpart in the Senate, SB 706 by Sen. Eddie Lucio was heard in the Senate Education Committee Monday.
Other bills voted out of committee:
- HB 3214 by Rep. Giovanni Capriglione would provide a cost-of-living increase for retirees who retired after August 31, 2004 and before August 31, 2021, in the amount of 6% of their monthly benefit, but capped at $100/month.
- HB 3507 by Rep. Glenn Rogers would provide a supplemental payment (“thirteenth check”) for retirees who retired as of December 31, 2020 in the amount of their normal monthly check or $2,000, whichever is less.
- HB 2022 by Rep. Drew Darby would allow Medicare-eligible retirees who chose to leave TRS-Care after the plan was revamped in 2017 to re-enroll in the plan through an open enrollment period. It applies to those who terminated their enrollment between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2019, and the retiree must re-enroll by Dec. 31, 2023.
- HB 2109 by Rep. Gene Wu includes provisions similar to those in the Sunset bill description above, providing a “three strikes” system of sanctions when a retiree violates return-to-work limitations.
- HB 3207 by Rep. Abel Herrero would exempt retirees who return to work and are employed in a position in an area subject to a disaster declaration from the employment after retirement limitations.