The 85th Texas Legislature is in session January 10 - May 29, 2017. Below is a list of summarized bills that could affect the programs administered by the ERS. For more information on each bill and to learn about the legislative process, visit the Texas Legislature Online website.

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Summary

Sunset
SB 301
HB 2459
Continues operation of ERS until 2029, making legislative changes adopted by the Sunset Commission. Go here for more on the Sunset Advisory Commission Review.

Retirement

Retirement - Elected Class
HB 422
SB 68
Makes legislators and statewide elected officials ineligible to receive an annuity if convicted of bribery, embezzlement, perjury, or other offenses related to performance of public service.
HB 1119
Fixes elected class annuities at 2% of $140,000 for members of the elected class with all service earned as member of the legislature.
SB 685
Fixes elected class annuities for legislators and statewide elected officials at 2% of a district judge's salary as of 8/31/17.
HB 500
SB 500
Prevents certain state and local elected officials from receiving a pension if they are convicted of a felony related to the performance of their official duties.
HB 3380
Suspends annuities of elected officials working as registered lobbyists.
Retirement - Employee Class
HB 398 Provides an immediate 10% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), effective September 1, 2017, plus a 4% annual COLA for annuitants. Also provides a supplemental payment equal to the lesser of the monthly annuity or $2,000, payable in January 2018.
HB 632
Caps the annuity of a retiree from a public retirement system at a maximum based on certain Federal salaries.
SB 652
HB 2289
Prevents certain employees of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department from receiving a pension if they are convicted of certain offenses against minor students.
HB 2810
Permits the inclusion of overtime pay in the calculation of a retirement annuity.
SB 1750
Requires the Pension Review Board to conduct a study on the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of a hybrid retirement plan for new state employees.
SB 1751
Allows the ERS Board of Trustees to develop and administer an alternative retirement plan, either a hybrid or defined contribution plan, for new state employees.
Retirement - Law Enforcement and Custodial Officer Supplemental Retirement Fund (LECOSRF)

HB 1163
SB 1366

Permits peace officers employed by institutions of higher education and public schools to move from TRS to ERS, effective January 1, 2018, and participate in LECOSRF. Also adds certain peace officers employed by the state and correctional officers at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department to LECOSRF.
HB 2218
Allows the ERS Board of Trustees to add correctional officers employed by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department to LECOSRF if the fund is actuarially sound.
Retirement - Judicial Retirement System (JRS) 1 and 2
SB 45
HB 3263
Allows JRS 2 retirees to resume service in JRS 2 if they return to service as a judicial officer after a break of more than 12 months, and have their annuity recalculated when they leave service.
HB 3588
Recalculates JRS II annuities for all current annuitants based on judicial salaries as they exist on 1/1/17 if the fund is sound.
Retirement - Secure Retirement
HB 3601
Creates a new state agency called Secure Retirement Plan for Texans that will establish and administer a retirement plan for private employees.

Chapter 615 (Survivor benefits for officers killed in the line of duty)

SB 15
HB 570
Provides a homestead tax exemption for the surviving spouse of certain first responders killed in the line of duty.
HB 1526 Provides Chapter 615 benefits to peace officers employed by certain private institutions of higher education.
HB 3132
SB 1180
Adds jailers, county jailers, and guards to the officers eligible for Chapter 615 benefits.
HB 1922
SB 1069
Changes the standard under which deaths from certain illnesses may be eligible for Chapter 615 benefits.
SB 1184 Adjusts lump sum Chapter 615 benefit annually for inflation and adds new $500,000 annuity benefit.

Insurance

Insurance - Coverages
HB 195 Requires the Texas Employees Group Benefits Program (GBP) to cover a diagnostic mammogram in the same manner as a screening mammogram.
HB 490
SB 552
Requires the GBP to cover hearing aids and cochlear implants for certain people.
HB 717
SB 1265
Requires the GBP to cover certain HIV testing.
HB 940
HB 1161
Requires the GBP to provide an enrollee with up to a 12 month supply of a covered contraceptive.
SB 20
HB 1113
Prohibits the GBP from covering abortions, except as a separate coverage with a separate premium, and only in the case of medical emergency.
SB 411
Prohibits the GBP from automatically rejecting a campus-based mental health professional from contracting with the plan based on the professional’s service area.
SB 697
HB 1296
Requires the GBP to cover a partial refill of a prescription drug to allow a participant to synchronize prescription refills to the same date.
HB 1539
Insurance - Eligibility
HB 224 Prohibits insurers from denying coverage to an individual with a pre-existing condition.
Insurance – Other
SB 55
HB 1976
Requires ERS and TRS to study a patient-reported outcomes registry for musculoskeletal care.
HB 307 Requires health care facilities and practitioners to disclose prices to patients.
SB 507
HB1566
Adds emergency care providers to the list of health care providers who may be required to mediate out-of-network claims for GBP participants.
HB 1194
Amends Chapter 1552, Insurance Code, to allow ERS to provide long-term care insurance that is not group insurance.
HB 4178
SB 1935
Requires providers, facilities, and the ERS health plan to provide estimated health care costs to GBP participants on request, and requires ERS to develop a shared savings incentive program.

Investments

HB 89
SB 29
Prohibits statewide pension funds (including ERS) from investing in companies that boycott Israel, and requires divesting from those companies. Also prohibits all state agencies from contracting with those companies.
SB 253
HB 1143
Prohibits statewide pension funds (including ERS) from investing in companies that provide supplies or services to foreign terrorist organizations, and requires divesting from those companies.
SB 509 Requires certain local retirement systems to select a firm to regularly assess the retirement system's investment practices and performance.
HB 1902 Prohibits statewide pension funds (including ERS) from investing in companies that donate money or goods to Planned Parenthood, and requires divesting from those companies.
SB 1344
Requires ERS to report investment income earned from an investment instrument in the year in which the income is earned.

Board of Trustees

HB 265
SB 935
Allows one of the members elected to the Board of Trustees to be a retiree. Effective for the elected member position taking office on 9/1/2019.
HB 1014 Allows a member elected to the Board of Trustees to be a retiree, with a limit of one retiree. Effective for the elected member position taking office on September 1, 2019.

Funding

SJR 24 Proposed constitutional amendment to appropriate a surplus in the Rainy Day Fund to sources including the ERS trust fund.
HB 1416 Authorizes ERS to study pension revenue enhancement strategies, defined as the purchase of life insurance policies for employees held in trust for the retirement system.

Contracting

SB 252
HB 1142
Prevents state agencies from contracting with companies that provide supplies or services to foreign terrorist organizations.

Open Records

HB 792
SB 407
Redefines the information that may be withheld from an open records request because release of the information would result in a competitive disadvantage.
HB 793
SB 408
Expands the definition of governmental bodies subject to the open records law.
SB 456
HB 2742
Allows legislators, committees, and legislative agencies to access governmental information for legislative purposes.
SB 515
HB 3271
Allows a member of a board of a state agency to access information, documents, and property related to that state agency.
SB 930
HB 2414
Prohibits ERS from withholding the names or annuity amounts of annuitants who were or are members of the legislature.
Ethics
HB 501
SB 501
Expands reporting requirements on personal financial statements filed with the Ethics Commission to include certain contracts for goods or services, and bond counsel services.
HB 1283
SB 14
Omnibus ethics reform bill that includes language of SB/HB 500 and 501.
Joint Interim Committee
SB 936 Creates a joint interim committee to study Texas public retirement systems.
HB 1994 Creates a joint interim committee to study health care costs and transparency