Latest Capitol Updates

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Legislative staff funding complicates political standoff | July 29, 2021 - 10:44am

In June, anticipating that Democratic legislators might continue to fight his priority issues during a special session, Gov. Abbott line-item-vetoed the section of the state budget that funds the legislative branch. The idea was to force legislators to meet to restore the funding before the new fiscal year begins.

House and Senate still in limbo | July 26, 2021 - 3:34pm

The legislature has been stalled since shortly after the beginning of the special session, when House Democrats left the state in order to block consideration of a controversial elections bill by breaking quorum. (The House partisan makeup is 83 Republican, 67 Democrats; a quorum for conducting business requires that 100 members be present.)

Senate passes 13th check proposal | July 13, 2021 - 12:42pm

SB 7, legislation to provide school retirees with a supplemental check, passed the Texas Senate today on a 22-0 vote. If the bill eventually becomes law, it would require TRS to issue a "13th check" in the amount of the retiree's normal monthly check, capped at $2,400, no later than January 2022. In laying out the bill Sen.

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After months of intense pressure from education groups, public education supporters and Texas legislators at the state and federal level, Gov. Greg Abbott announced on April 28, 2021, that Texas would release $11.2 billion in new federal funds to help public schools address student learning loss and costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

TCTA staff and leadership are closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on Texas schools. We've compiled answers to many of the questions our members are asking about COVID-19. The following FAQs also are available to non-members to help all educators navigate this unprecedented time. The FAQs are updated as new guidance emerges from federal, state and local officials.

Click here for our resources about teaching online. Click here for our summary of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides paid leave for employees. Click here for information about the CARES Act, which adds funds for education.

We encourage TCTA members with specific questions to call our Legal Department at 888-879-8282 for assistance. Members with general inquiries can submit them through the Ask-a-Lawyer portal.

During its meeting July 15-16, the TRS Board of Directors is responding to legislation passed during the 2021 regular session. Over the coming weeks, TRS will publish and accept comments on proposed new rules and revisions to address changes in state law, particularly those regarding employment after retirement and TRS's administration of ActiveCare health insurance.

In the 87th session that ended May 31, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 1, the General Appropriations Act, that comprises the next biennial budget for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023. SB 1 includes $51.8 billion for the Foundation School Program, the primary source of state funding for Texas school districts. This is a 5.6% increase over the current biennium.

The TRS Board of Directors met in a special meeting June 3, 2021, to approve new ActiveCare premium rates and plan changes. ActiveCare rates will increase an average of 6.2%, with the Primary+ plan premiums rising by 5.5% and Primary, high-deductible (HD) and ActiveCare 2 premiums by 8%. Only the HD plan will see changes in benefits. Open enrollment for the upcoming school year will run July 12-Aug. 23.

Last March, almost every aspect of school was upended. No one anticipated the pandemic that has reshaped our lives in countless ways inside and outside the classroom. We’ve all learned a lot in the past year — from new technologies and ways of teaching, to how to smile with our eyes and stay connected while maintaining social distance — but some things endured, especially the resiliency and resolve of educators.