Updated 5/10/13. There are only 17 days left in the 83rd legislative Session. Regarding the status of TMRS-specific bills, House Bill 626 (Harper-Brown) was passed by the House and has been referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee for a possible hearing (see Current Bill Summary at right for changes included in the engrossed version of the bill). HB 718 (Smithee) which would authorize TMRS to offer a fixed-rate Cost of Living Adjustment option without the “catch-up” provision for TMRS cities, was left pending by the House Pensions Committee on March 18 and was not passed in time to meet a rule deadline, so the bill is procedurally dead. TMRS is tracking 19 other bills (see Summary).
On February 11, the Committee held its first meeting and was provided with overviews of the four statewide pension systems, including TMRS (read presentation), the Pension Review Board, and the Fire Fighters Pension Commissioner. At their meeting on February 18th, the Committee heard testimony on the reports produced during the interim including the benefit design studies of the Employees Retirement System and Teacher Retirement System, and other reports from the Comptroller of Public Accounts, Pension Review Board, and Sunset Advisory Commission. The Senate State Affairs committee has not yet scheduled a hearing.
Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst announced Senate Committee assignments on January 18, 2013. Speaker of the House of Representatives Joe Straus announced House Committee assignments on January 31, 2013. TMRS’ primary oversight committees are the Senate State Affairs Committee and the House Pensions Committee. The House voted this session to split the Pensions, Investments & Financial Services Committee into two separate committees. The Senate State Affairs Committee will again be chaired by Senator Robert Duncan (Lubbock). The House Pensions Committee will be chaired by Representative Bill Callegari (Houston). Legislation affecting TMRS typically is referred to these two committees for hearings and to receive public input. However, some bills may be referred to other committees, depending on the bill content. The schedules for upcoming Senate hearings and for upcoming House hearings are posted and regularly updated on the web.
The Texas Legislature convened for the 83rd Regular Legislative Session on January 8, 2013. Regular sessions occur in each odd-numbered year for 140 calendar days. A calendar of session milestones is available on the Texas Legislative Council's website.
The Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives each has its own operating rules and deadlines for addressing legislation (bills) filed by its members. Each chamber uses committees made up of its membership to hear and process legislation. The committees with jurisdiction over TMRS are the Senate State Affairs Committee and the House Pensions Committee.
The TMRS Board decided not to pursue or endorse any legislative changes for the 83rd Session. The Board action was taken at the September 21st Board Meeting. The TMRS Advisory Committee on Retirement Matters, which met five times during the interim and studied a variety of proposed plan changes, declined to suggest any legislative proposals for consideration.
The House Pensions, Investments & Financial Services Committee held a hearing on September 12th and 13th to hear testimony on their interim charges related to state and local pension systems. This included the charge pertaining to examining plan changes to the Texas Municipal Retirement System and the Texas County and District Retirement System. Executive Director David Gavia testified on behalf of TMRS (view presentation). The Committee’s interim report is expected to be released later this year.
The Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, the Honorable Joe Straus, released interim committee study charges for the Texas House on October 20, 2011. House standing committees are to study these issues and report back to the Texas Legislature prior to the 83rd Regular Session which starts in January, 2013. Included in these charges is a study topic to the House Pensions, Investments, & Financial Services Committee to, “Review the Texas County and District Retirement System and the Texas Municipal Retirement System and examine plan provisions offered to individual participating counties and cities.”
The Lieutenant Governor, the Honorable David Dewhurst, has issued interim charges for the committees in the Texas Senate. These charges issued are available here. None of the study topics issued directly impact TMRS.