As expected, shortly after the Senate passed the Sunset legislation in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Gov. Greg Abbott released the official proclamation expanding the issues that can be considered in the special session. Unlike the previous version, though, the proclamation specifically mentions TRS-Care.

Legislation to increase the average salary and benefits (including TRS-Care) of Texas teachers; and legislation to provide a more flexible and rewarding salary and benefit system for Texas teachers. (Emphasis added.)

Around the same time, Sen. Jane Nelson filed SB 19, which contains three significant provisions:

  • An annual $600 longevity bonus for active teachers to be paid beginning September 2018 to teachers with 6-10 years of experience, and a $1,000 bonus for those with 11 or more years. The 2018 bonus would be funded through a deferral of state payments to managed care organizations; a source of future funding is not included in the bill.
  • A requirement that districts use an amount equaling $1,000 per teacher to increase salaries (the bill leaves it up to the districts to determine how to allocate the salary increases). This would begin in the 2019-20 school year, and additional state funding is not guaranteed. (Other legislation that would direct lottery funds for the purpose of teacher salaries would only re-allocate funds already used for public education, not increase the amount going to districts.)
  • $212 million in additional funding for TRS-Care which may be used to reduce costs for participants (including premiums, deductibles, and prescription drugs) and reduce premiums and maximum out-of-pocket costs for disabled adult children. This funding and the directives regarding how it may be spent are only in place for the 2018-19 plan years.

A hearing on SB 19 has been scheduled for Saturday afternoon.