On August 16, 2017, the First Called Special Session of the 85th Legislature concluded. The Legislature passed 10 of the 20 issues placed on the call by Governor Greg Abbott. The topic of pensions was not included on the call.
85th Legislative Session Ends
On May 29, 2017, both the House and the Senate adjourned “Sine Die,” officially ending the 85th Regular Legislative Session. Before adjourning, the Senate elected Senator Robert Nichols as President Pro Tempore for the interim period, making him third in line to the Governorship. Governor Greg Abbott has until June 18 to consider bills that were passed. The Governor can sign, veto, or allow the bills to go into effect without his signature. A number of bills were passed by the Legislature that affect state and local pension plans. Please see the bill list for the results of the bills that TMRS tracked during the 85th Legislative Session.
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Legislative Sessions Archive
84th Legislative Session
84th Legislative Session Ends
The 84th Legislative Session ended on June 1, 2015. Governor Greg Abbott had until June 20 to sign, veto or allow bills to go into effect without his signature. None of the bills that proposed changes to the TMRS plan design passed the Legislature. However, there was legislation passed that affected local pension plans and other statewide systems that became law. Please see the bill list for the results of the bills TMRS tracked during the 84th Legislative Session.
83rd Legislative Session
Legislature Adjourns Third Special Session
The Legislature adjourned on August 5 from the Third Special Session of the 83rd Legislature after passing transportation funding legislation. Even though transportation funding was the only subject on the legislative “call,” other bills were filed, including one pension-related bill, House Bill 19 (Callegari). HB 19 proposed new funding guidelines for certain public retirement systems, which did not include TMRS. This bill was not considered by the Legislature due to limits on the call. The next scheduled Regular Session of the 84th Legislature will convene on the second Tuesday in January, 2015.
Final Status of Bills Affecting TMRS & Update on Special Session
The 83rd Regular Legislative Session came to an end on May 27, 2013. That same day, the Governor called a Special Session to take up legislation which “ratifies and adopts the interim redistricting plans ordered by the federal district court as the permanent plans for districts used to elect member of the Texas House of Representatives, Texas Senate and United States House of Representatives.” The duration of the Special Session is a maximum of 30 days. Three additional topics have been added to the Special Session call, but none of these are pension-related and do not affect TMRS. Regarding the status of bills that passed during the Regular Session, the bill signing period ended on June 16, 2013. See the updated Bill Summary at right for the final status of legislation affecting TMRS.
Texas House of Representatives Interim Committee Charges
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.”
Texas Senate Interim Committee Charges
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.
82nd Regular Session
SB 350 Signed into Law
The Fund Restructuring proposal (SB 350) was signed into law by Governor Perry today. The bill is effective immediately. SB 350 by Senator Tommy Williams (House sponsor Vicki Truitt), contains the proposal for TMRS internal fund restructuring recommended by the TMRS Board of Trustees and the TMRS Advisory Committee on Retirement Matters.
TMRS Legislation Passes - HB 360 "relating to the crediting and charging of investment gains and losses on the assets held in trust by the Texas Municipal Retirement System and providing a guaranteed minimum credit to employee accounts," passed the Texas House and Texas Senate unanimously. The bill now goes to the Governor for the final measure before it becomes law.
TMRS thanks everyone involved in helping move HB 360 forward. We are particularly grateful to the primary sponsor, House Chairman Edmund Kuempel, co-authors Representatives Abel Herrero and Solomon Ortiz, Jr., and Senate sponsor Senator Tommy Williams and their staffs. Thanks also to the TMRS Board of Trustees for their leadership and the TMRS Legislative Stakeholder Group (now the TMRS Advisory Committee) for their role in preparing for this session.
TMRS' Board and Staff wish Chairman Kuempel's family well and hope Representative Kuempel has a speedy recovery.
Summary of the 81st Session
The 81st Legislature enacted HB 360 by Kuempel, co–authored by Herrero (Senate sponsor Williams) which was signed into law by Governor Perry on May 26, 2009. Provisions of HB 360 included:
Minimum 5% interest guarantee to members
Minimum 5% discount rate in annuity purchase rate
City accounts permitted to receive interest at a rate different from the rate received by members
Passage of HB 360:
Made the “soft target” of 5% for the member interest and annuity purchase discount rate into a statutory minimum
Allowed TMRS to continue with investment diversifaction
Helped mitigate increases in city contribution rates and provided potential relief for higher future rates
Allowed TMRS to begin building a reserve for years when investment returns fall below the assumed rate of 7%
Following the interim work of the TMRS Stakeholder Group in 2008, the TMRS Advisory Committee was expanded to include members of the Stakeholder Group.
80th Legislative Session
The TMRS Bill, HB 1244, was signed by Governor Perry. In addition, HB 3392, the “Laredo bill” was signed by the Governor. HB 3392, filed on behalf of Laredo municipal employees, has an immediate effective date. If your city has ever privatized part of its workforce, and later reversed the action, this provision may apply to some of your city's retirees. Please contact TMRS if you think this provision applies to your city.