Uncover How Lawmakers Could Impact Your Public Retirement System in the 88th Legislative Session

The 88th Texas Legislative Session is in full swing, with lawmakers proposing and debating bills that could significantly impact public employee pension plans.

As a trustee or administrator of a public retirement system, it's important to stay up to date on the changes legislators are introducing that may affect your system. By tracking legislation and understanding how they could affect your organization, you can prepare for and manage any potential impacts. In this blog post, we'll discuss why pension system leaders should track Texas bills during the 88th Legislative Session.

Public retirement system board members and administrators should be aware of legal trends that could affect their system's operations. In the past, lawmakers have passed bills that have impacted public pensions at the state and local government levels. During the current legislative session, lawmakers have proposed several bills that could impact state public retirement systems in Texas.

Trustees and administrators must track any new laws that may affect their system, so they can be ready to adjust their advocacy plans accordingly. Fortunately, following along with Texas legislation is easy.

TEXPERS' Legislative Committee tracks pensions and other bills that could impact the operations of retirement systems, such as investments, each legislative session. The document will be regularly posted to the Association's Legislation webpage as the committee vets bills for tracking.

TEXPERS also regularly posts Capitol Updates to its Pensions Outlook blog alerting its members to the goings-on of the Texas House and Senate.

Also, the Texas Legislature has several online resources for tracking bills and other legislative activity throughout the session. You can also sign up for email notifications from the legislature when new bills are filed or passed. This will ensure you get all the necessary updates about how laws may impact your system in the coming session.

New legislation may affect local and state retirement systems in different ways, ranging from changes to employee benefits and retirement plan reporting to modifications of revenue streams. For public pension systems specifically, legislators could propose laws that would significantly impact operations. These could include measures related to investment practices, increasing contribution rates, and changing benefit eligibility requirements—all of which trustees need to be aware of as they monitor legislation moving forward.

To help you stay on top of relevant updates throughout the 88th Legislative Session, we recommend relying on expert advice and tips when monitoring bills up for consideration.

Use these tips as a guide to quickly identify when a bill is relevant to your organization:

  • Read the title and subject matter: See what issues are addressed in the bill and if there are any implications for your system or local government entity.
  • Analyze potential impacts: Identify how potential impacts could affect operations at both short-term and long-term levels.
  • Research similar existing laws: Compare existing laws with proposed legislation to understand how it could modify current regulations.
  • Consult with experts/consultants: Ask members of your team or industry experts if they see any potential impacts from a proposed law.

By taking advantage of these tips as you monitor progress throughout this legislative session, you can uncover potential risks or opportunities early on that may affect your system's future operations. This will help you understand the implications of new laws before they become effective, so you can adjust accordingly if needed.

As leaders of public retirement systems in Texas, carefully track all relevant updates coming out of Austin so you can adequately prepare for any impacts on your organizations. By staying informed about proposed changes, you can uncover how laws may affect your system—and use expert advice along the way to quickly identify when a bill applies to your fund's specific circumstances. Doing so will ensure you're ready for anything that comes down from Austin as this important legislative session progresses over the next few months.

About the Author: At TEXPERS, Allen Jones is the director of communications and event marketing. Before joining the Association, he worked as a journalist, editor, publication manager, and marketing professional for various newspapers, magazines, websites, and companies for over 20 years. 


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