Texas Border Business
AUSTIN, Texas – Texas State Representative Terry Canales (D-Edinburg) filed his first package of bills introduced for the upcoming 88th Texas Legislative Session. Today was the first day that a state lawmaker can introduce legislation into the legislative process for the 140-day legislative session that begins on Tuesday, January 10, 2023. Thousands of bills will ultimately be filed throughout the legislative session.
Rep. Canales’ first filed bill, House Bill 332, would create a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) for our retired teachers. Earlier this year, Rep. Canales published an OP-ED in the Dallas Morning News calling for a meaningful COLA for our school employees. Texas teacher retirement benefits were recently ranked 49th in the country by a bipartisan, nonprofit group focused on pension plans. Rep. Canales also filed HJR 5, which would constitutionally set a minimum amount that the state must contribute to TRS and the Employees Retirement System of Texas. In the past, the legislature has often balanced the state’s budget by slashing investments in our retired state employees.
“We cannot hope to recruit and keep our best teachers, unless we ensure a suitable retirement”, said Representative Canales. Rep. Canales continued, “investing in these school employees, is investing in our children”. “Retired Texas teachers have not received a cost-of-living adjustment since 2004, meaning they have lost 38% of the value of their benefits to inflation over these 18 years. In 2019 and 2021, the Texas Legislature provided a 13th monthly check to retirees, but these payments were not nearly enough to make up for the loss of benefits over the past two decades. We must ask ourselves, if we don’t support our retired teachers, what does that say about our support for students and the overall Texas education system?”
Rep. Canales also filed the following bills:
· House Bill 71: would direct the Texas Department of Public Safety to create a digital Texas Driver License.
· House Bill 116: would create a distance learning law school at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
· House Bill 127: would bring the penalty for marijuana concentrates in line with marijuana
· House Bill 164: would create a sales tax exemption for college textbook.
Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, is the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and a member of the Sunset Advisory Commission. Rep. Canales represents House District 40 in Hidalgo County, which includes portions or all of Edinburg, Elsa, Faysville, La Blanca, Linn, Lópezville, McAllen, Pharr and Weslaco. He may be reached at his House District Office in Edinburg at (956) 383-0860 or at the Capitol at (512) 463-0426.