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Bonus for retired Texas teachers in jeopardy because of Democratic walkout in Austin

‘Retired teachers are anxious’
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 7:15 PM CDT
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AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX) – Retired Texas teachers are caught in the crossfire between Republican and Democratic state lawmakers.

Tuesday, the state Senate passed a bill that would give retired teachers a 13th annuity payment in addition to the 12 they currently receive through the state’s Teacher Retirement System.

But on Monday House Democrats, walked out to block action on a controversial election bill, and without a quorum, the Texas House is unable to act on any legislation.

However, advocacy groups like the Texas Retired Teachers Association say they will continue to push for the bill to be passed during this special session.

“Until there is a quorum it just doesn’t look like any business will be addressed,” said Tim Lee, president of the TRTA.

“Retired teachers are anxious. Many of them need the money, they very much would like to see this check get passed ultimately this special session.”

For nearly two decades the teacher retirement system has not been adjusted to account for inflation.

The bill would allow the state to spend about $700 million from the state’s general fund to be sent out by the end of 2021.

The checks for each retired teacher could be for as much as $2,400.

In a statement, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called on Democrats to consider the collateral damage caused by their walkout.

“Final passage of this bill into law will require the House Democrats who have fled the state to return to the House for a quorum,” he said.

“If they do not, this bill will die, but the Senate will pass SB 7 over and over until the House finally has a quorum.”

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas is the largest public retirement system in Texas, serving more than 1.6 million people.

One out of every 20 Texans relies on TRS for retirement, disability, and survivor benefits.

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