Tamara Aronstein, Project Manager
Next Review Date: 2032-2033 Review Cycle - 93rd Legislative Session
Last Review Cycle: 2020-2021 Review Cycle - 87th Legislative Session
Final Results of Last Sunset Review
- Specify the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) is subject to Sunset review, but not abolishment, again in 2033.
- Member Communication and Engagement
- Require TRS to develop a communication and outreach plan to better help members and employers plan for retirement; create communication and engagement materials informing members of the existing option to request an external review of healthcare coverage appeals denied by third-party health plan administrators; and ensure members are aware they may work directly with TRS for assistance in navigating the appeals process.
- Require TRS to respond to appeals at all levels of staff review within the same amount of time that members have to appeal agency decisions.
- Require the TRS Board of Trustees to appoint an ombudsman to monitor the agency’s interactions with active and retired members; investigate, escalate, and report to the board on member complaints; and recommend changes to agency operations that would benefit members and increase their input into agency decisions.
- Require TRS to make improved efforts to return contributions to inactive members before funds are forfeit and, as a management action, direct TRS to develop a process to submit inactive member information to the Comptroller of Public Accounts upon its request.
- Direct TRS to adopt a member engagement policy to increase transparency on key decisions by February 1, 2021. As part of this provision, direct TRS to review the TRS-Care Retirees Advisory Committee and make any changes needed to more effectively receive feedback from retirees on TRS-Care. (Management action – nonstatutory)
Employment After Retirement Reductions
- Specify that TRS members who retire after January 1, 2021 and exceed employment after retirement limitations are subject to a three-strikes system for any violations of the limitations. Require TRS to send a warning the first time a retiree violates employment after retirement limitations. For a subsequent violation, the retiree is subject to a dollar-for-dollar reduction. For any future violations, retirees lose their entire monthly annuity.
- Direct TRS to fully centralize contracting functions and clarify roles and responsibilities between central contracts department staff and division staff managing contracts, and report its progress on implementing this recommendation to the Sunset Commission by February 1, 2021. (Management action – nonstatutory)
- Direct TRS to enhance its contract monitoring process and report its progress on this recommendation to the Sunset Commission by February 1, 2021. (Management action – nonstatutory)
- Direct TRS to include standard remedies in contracts and consistently apply enforcement tools. Direct TRS to provide an update on the implementation of this recommendation to the Sunset Commission by February 1, 2021. (Management action – nonstatutory)
- Direct TRS to require staff who procure or manage contracts to complete the comptroller’s contract training and report to the Sunset Commission on its implementation of this recommendation by February 1, 2021. (Management action – nonstatutory)
- Direct TRS to perform a cost-benefit analysis of implementing an enhanced investment accounting system to provide increased oversight of the custodian bank’s accounting data and report to the Sunset Commission on the estimated costs and benefits and the agency’s recommended approach by February 1, 2021. (Management action – nonstatutory)
- Direct TRS to have its Internal Investment Committee review internal investments and strategies. (Management action – nonstatutory)
- Direct TRS to include clear, easily understandable information about alternative investments in its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and report on its status in implementing this recommendation to the Sunset Commission by February 1, 2021. (Management action – nonstatutory)
- Update the standard across-the-board requirement related to board member training.
- Update the standard across-the-board requirement related to developing and maintaining a complaints system and making information on complaint procedures available to the public. Specify TRS may not inform parties of the status of complaints if doing so would jeopardize an ongoing investigation.
- Abolish three, modify two, and consolidate two of TRS’ reporting requirements and, as a management action, direct TRS to provide more comprehensive information on TRS-Care healthcare costs to the Legislature and the Texas Department of Insurance in the consolidated TRS-Care report.
- Direct TRS to provide information on incentive payments to TRS investment staff in its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. (Management action – nonstatutory)
- Direct TRS to develop and maintain a system for receiving and responding to complaints and report its progress to the Sunset Commission by February 1, 2021. (Management action – nonstatutory)
- Update TRS’ statute to reflect the requirements of the person-first respectful language initiative if the changes would not impact TRS’ ability to administer disability retirement benefits. Ultimately, statute was not updated because Texas Legislative Council determined a change could have a negative impact.