October 22, 2021: Possible ‘premium holiday’ for TRS retirees; A wrap on the 3rd special session; Early voting starts on state election


抬头看德州国会大厦螺旋形的圆顶On Tuesday, the Texas Legislature adjourned sine die, putting an end to a packed third special session. 主要的重点是为德克萨斯州教育委员会重新绘制地区地图, Senate, House, and U.S. Congress—all of which passed—but Gov. 格雷格·艾伯特还在议程中增加了其他几项. 通过的立法还包括歧视跨性别学生运动员的法案, appropriated federal stimulus money, 资助了TRS医疗保健的“优质假期”机会, provided a tax break to homeowners, 增加对德州高等教育机构的资助.


Redistricting complete, but faces legal action
All four redistricting maps have been continuously attacked throughout the process for underrepresenting voters of color. MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) filed suit against the state on all four maps on behalf of individual voters and a coalition of Latino organizations committed to securing fair redistricting plans. The lawsuit asks the federal court to toss out the new maps because the maps are unconstitutional and violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. According to the complaint, the new maps for Congress, and the Texas House, Senate, 和国家教育委员会没有反映拉丁裔社区的增长.

Lawmakers carve up billions in federal pandemic aid, 为TRS退休医疗保健成员提供可能的“保费假期”

教师退休制度的文字刻在大楼的长石牌上The Legislature also passed SB 8该法案将拨给德克萨斯州的联邦刺激基金作为美国救援计划的一部分. SB 8 appropriates over $286 million to the Teachers Retirement System of Texas to offset COVID-19 costs. TRS is considering creating a premium holiday for a certain number of months in which eligible retirees would not pay TRS-Care premiums. The funds will also be used to reduce additional premium increases for TRS-ActiveCare members that otherwise could have occurred in the 2022-2023 plan year. More specific information on TRS-Care and TRS-ActiveCare plan premiums will likely become available this December.

The bill also allocates more than $7.20亿美元用于国家失业补偿基金, 在去年的大流行期间,该公司的索赔申请铺天盖地.

立法机构最终通过了法案,这对全州的LGBTQ+学生和活动人士是一个巨大的打击 HB 25这将歧视跨性别学生运动员. 该法案将阻止跨性别学生与自己的性别群体参加体育比赛. 这一法案和全国各地提交的类似法案引起了全国的关注. The Biden White House released a statement this week condemning the passage of HB 25 and calling that bill and similar bills like it “bullying disguised as legislation.全国至少有5个州的立法机构也通过了类似的法案.

Voters will have the last word in May 2022 on property tax changes that sailed through both chambers Monday. Passed unanimously, SJR 2 would raise the state homestead exemption from $25,000 to $40,000 for school property taxes, saving the average homeowner about $176 in savings, according to the bill’s author, Sen. Paul Bettencourt.

After lawmakers were unable to agree on other forms of property tax relief—including one-time rebates to homeowners—lawmakers immediately fast-tracked the homestead exemption proposal. The Senate passed the proposal without hearing from a single member of the public before the language was publicly available, 众议院晚些时候通过了该法案.

如果得到选民的批准,宪法修正案每年将花费州政府大约6亿美元. 贝当古表示,修正案第一年将从国家盈余中支付. 然而,目前还不清楚未来将如何支付这笔费用.

In the last week of the special session, 立法机关通过了一项法案,授权发行3美元.3 billion in tuition revenue bonds for institutions of higher education to finance construction projects. While these “tuition revenue” bonds are the primary mechanism for funding university capital projects, the Legislature had not passed a package since 2015.

Note: At press time, 特别会议通过的法案仍在等待州长签字批准, no action taken for approval, or a veto.

What failed to pass
Two of the governor’s agenda items that did not pass the legislature were bills to increase penalties for illegally voting—or making honest mistakes when voting—and to block COVID-19 vaccine mandates for all entities in Texas. 尽管没有通过立法禁止COVID-19疫苗授权, 州长已经发布了一项行政命令,阻止这些授权, and the legal fight over that issue is ongoing. Even without these two agenda items passing, 目前看来,立法会近期内不太可能召开第四次特别会议. On Wednesday, 雅培的一名发言人表示,“目前没有必要举行另一场特别会议.”

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Looking down, two feet in tennis shoes angle into a "V" to form the "V" in "Vote" written in red and blue chalk on the pavement.

On November 2, Texans will have an opportunity to vote on eight propositions that would amend the state constitution and change state law.

提前投票从星期一开始,一直持续到10月29日星期五. Election day is November 2. Election Day voting hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at all polling places statewide.

Ballot Propositions & Language

Proposition 1
Relating to Gambling Authorizes professional sports team charitable organizations to conduct raffles at rodeo venues

Proposition 2
Relating to Bond issues Authorizes a county to issue bonds to fund infrastructure and transportation projects in undeveloped and blighted areas

Proposition 3
Relating to Religion Amends the Texas Constitution to prohibit the state or any political subdivision from enacting a law, rule, order, 或限制宗教服务或组织的公告

Proposition 4
Relating to the State judiciary Changes the eligibility requirements for the following judicial offices: a justice of the supreme court, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a justice of a court of appeals, and a district judge

Proposition 5
Relating to the State judiciary Authorizes the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct to accept and investigate complaints and reports against candidates running for state judicial office

Proposition 6
Regarding Healthcare and Constitutional rights Amends the Texas Constitution to state that residents of nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, or state-supported living centers have a right to designate an essential caregiver that may not be prohibited from visiting the resident

Proposition 7
Relating to Taxes Amends the Texas Constitution to allow the legislature to extend a homestead tax limit for surviving spouses of disabled individuals as long as the spouse is 55 years old and resides at the home

Proposition 8
Relating to Taxes and Veterans Amends the Texas Constitution to allow the legislature to apply a homestead tax exemption for surviving spouses of members of the military to those fatally injured in the line of duty

For more information on voting, visit http://www.votetexas.gov/voting/. For more detail on the ballot, see the Texas Tribune breakdown.

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红色边框圆圈中的蓝色文字写着:No way on Prop aSome 115 organizations—including the Texas AFL-CIO, 德克萨斯的AFT公司的附属机构——加入反对A提案, an Austin ballot measure that would use a “random number” to specify how many police officers should be hired.

While the Prop A measure is Austin-specific, a recent law passed by the Legislature in the spring could make similar ballot measures in other cities a significant threat to city budgets and operations statewide. 该法律禁止许多市政当局削减警务预算, 也就是说,如果城市被迫雇佣级别过高的官员, they can’t legally make adjustments to lower them.

提案A要求该市每雇佣1名警察就雇佣2名警察,000 residents, 警方称这一数字“毫无意义”和“随机”.” (Austin currently is at 1.8 officers per thousand.) City officials estimate 这项措施每年将耗资5000万至1.2亿美元, 迫使医护人员和消防员等其他服务部门削减开支. Austin passed a record-high police budget 为解决人员短缺问题,今年又开办了两所新的培训学院. 你可以在这里找到更多关于反对这项有害投票措施的信息 No Way on Prop A.

Pol. Adv. paid for by Texas AFT.

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Text: Student loans are a maze. We're partnering to guide the way. 图片:两只手拿着地图穿过迷宫般的建筑
In a previous Hotline we told you about AFT’s landmark legal victory opening a new pathway to erasing student loan debt.

What you need to do now to get help from the AFT:



Color bar orange with text: Mindfulness Essentials
布里奇斯研究所将于下个月通过Zoom主办“正念要点”系列讲座. 这个系列赛从周三开始,并将在每周三下午6点继续.m. to 7:30 p.m., throughout the months of September and October. 这些免费的启发性网络研讨会将帮助参与者更好地了解他们的思想和情感. CPE credit will be issued per hour of participation. Sign up for the webinars here.

In addition to the instructive webinars, The Bridges Institute will also host weekly practice sessions in which participants can take part in guided meditation. 这些会议从9月20日开始,在随后的周一,从6:15分开始.m. to 6:45 p.m., throughout the months of September and October. Sign up for the practice sessions here.

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