The Texas Legislature is currently in session. 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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GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS BILLS

SB 2
HB 1
Retirement:
• ERS – State contribution rates of 9.5% for both years of biennium; plus an additional state agency contribution at the rate of 0.5% of base payroll
Note: on 3/10/15, the House announced in a press conference their intention to raise the state contribution to 9.5%.
• LECOSRF – 0.5% state contribution rate for both years of biennium
• JRS 2 – 15.66% state contribution rate for both years of biennium
• JRS 1 – Fully funded

Group Health Plan:
• Funded sufficiently to potentially avoid benefit changes through FY 2017
• Maintains current 100% member and 50% dependent state contribution
• Maintains 1% of base payroll contribution from participating state agencies and higher education institutions
• Requires ERS to provide reports regarding the bidding and administration of the HealthSelect contract to LBB and SAO.

Other Benefits:
• Public Safety Benefits (Chapter 615) – Fully funded
• Retiree Death Benefits – Fully funded

RETIREMENT

Retirement - Elected Class

HB 131
SB 1683

Fixes elected class annuity at 2% of $125,000 for members entering the class on or after 9/1/2015, with a maximum of 12 years of service.

SB 110
HB 1538

Suspends or reduces annuities of elected class officers on final conviction of a felony or certain misdemeanors related to the officer's official duties.

SB 115
HB 1698

Prohibits ERS from withholding as confidential the name or amount of annuity of a retired member of the legislature.

HB 408
SB 1773

Prevents certain members of the elected class from transferring service to the employee class, or from retiring from the employee class while still in elected office.

HB 425
HB 681

Makes elected officials ineligible to receive an annuity if convicted of bribery, embezzlement, or perjury.

HB 3461
HB 3699

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 19

Suspends or reduces annuities of elected officers participating in any public retirement system on final conviction of a felony or certain misdemeanors related to the officer's official duties. Adds reporting requirements for individuals required to file financial reports to the Ethics Commission, including members of the ERS Board of Trustees.

SB 1516

Fixes retirement annuity of members of the legislature and statewide elected officials at 2% of a district judge's salary, as that salary existed on August 31, 2015.

Retirement - Employee Class

HB 442

Allows beneficiaries to have all or part of an employee's or retiree's death benefits be payable directly to a funeral director or establishment.  

HB 585

Limits the maximum retirement annuity amount for new employees hired after August 31, 2015 to the amount of the gross salary of an active duty General or Admiral of the US armed forces.

HB 701

Provides an immediate 10% COLA, effective 9/1/15, 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 '16. 

SB 465

Suspends or reduces annuities of Texas Juvenile Justice Department employees on final conviction of a certain offenses against a minor student.

HB 9

Raises the employee contribution to 9.5%, effective 9/1/2015, and ties the employee and state contributions together.

HB 2859

Permits an individual to establish service credit in the employee class for employment with a tribal government.

SB 1157

Repeals Section 814.009, Texas Government Code, which allows ERS to deduct membership fees for a state employee organization from a retiree's annuity.

SB 1917

Raises the employee contribution to 8%, the state agency contribution to 1%, and the state contribution required by the Texas Government Code to 10%, effective 9/1/2015.

SB 1941

Clarifies that a member who terminates  must designate a new beneficiary on returning to work, and that a death benefit is not payable to a member on leave without pay.

Retirement - Law Enforcement and Custodial Officer Supplemental Retirement Fund (LECOSRF)

HB 1821

Permits peace officers employed by institutions of higher education and public schools to move from TRS to ERS, effective 1/1/2016, and participate in LECOSRF. Also adds certain peace officers employed by the state and correctional officers at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department to LECOSRF.

Retirement - JRS 1 and 2

HB 3377

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.

CHAPTER 615

SB 436
HB 1278

Increases lump sum survivor benefit from $250,000 to $500,000, and doubles the monthly benefit paid to surviving minor children.

INSURANCE

Insurance - Coverages

SB 194

Requiring HIV tests to be a part of routine blood work. 

SB 264

Allows dependents of the wrongfully imprisoned to participate in the GBP.

SB 575
HB 1435

Requires health plans to offer abortion coverage as a separate coverage, and cover abortions under the health plan only when a life-threatening physical condition exists.

Insurance - Plan Design/Funding

HB 966
SB 482

Requires ERS to establish a voluntary consumer-directed health plan in the form of a high deductible health plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA) as an alternative to HealthSelect with coverage to begin September 1, 2016. 

HB 2935

Requires ERS and TRS to jointly conduct a study of the benefits and disadvantages of establishing a patient-reported outcomes registry for musculoskeletal care.

HB 3307
SB 1816

Requires ERS to offer a  TRICARE Military Health System Supplemental plan.

Insurance - Eligibility

HB 2123

Allows a member of the state military forces who has been on active duty for more than 60 days to participate in the GBP as a full-time state employee and receive a state contribution towards insurance premiums.

SB 1834

Allows a member of the Texas National Guard who is on active duty providing border security to participate in the GBP as a full-time state employee and receive a state contribution towards insurance premiums.

BENEFITS ELIGIBILITY

HB 1745
SB 673

Prohibits state employees from recognizing any marriage license or certification that does not comply with Section 32, Article 1, Texas Constitution 

HB 1797

Makes certain "qualified individuals" eligible to participate as dependents in the GBP if they are at least 18, not related to the GBP participant, financially interdependent, and cohabitating.

HB 3890

Makes a same-sex spouse of a member or retiree of a public retirement system ineligible for benefits from that retirement system.

INVESTMENTS

HB 3071
SB 940

Changes required reports on prohibited investments in Sudan and Iran from annually to 30 days after the updated list is received.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

HB 3227

Requires that one of  the members elected to the Board of Trustees be a retiree.

SB 1146

Adds option for one elected Board member to be a retiree.

HB 3573

Adds a fourth elected member to the Board of Trustees, who must be a retiree.

FUNDING

SJR 68

Proposed constitutional amendment to transfer $1.5 billion from the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund) to the ERS trust.

Updated April 6, 2015