With Christmas upon us and the New Year fast approaching, we’re immersed with reasons to celebrate. And while the end of December is perhaps the busiest time of year, it’s my hope that, amidst all of the fanfare and pageantry, we take a moment to be still and recenter ourselves on why we have reason to celebrate—Christ’s coming into the world so that He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men.
As we prepare our hearts and minds for Christmas and the New Year, I want to share with you a verse that I strive to carry with me throughout the holiday season: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” – Isaiah 9:6.
With that, we’ll dive back into our examination of House interim charges. . .
House Interim Charge: Pensions, Investments & Financial Services
With the 88th Legislative Session just around the corner, our tour of interim committees will soon come to a close. For our final stop on our tour of interim charges, we’ll examine the House Committee on Pensions, Investments & Financial Services. This nine-member committee oversees the financial obligations of all public retirement systems within the state, the state banking system, and the regulation of securities and investments. The Committee also has purview over several state agencies, such as the Texas Department of Banking, the Texas Emergency Services Retirement System, and the State Pension Review Board.
During the Interim, the Committee will continue to monitor the agencies under its jurisdiction and monitor the implementation of relevant legislation passed in the most recent legislative session. For example, HB 1585 made several changes to the Texas Retirement System of Texas (TRS) to effectively make it easier for TRS retirees to return to work, which was especially important during the pandemic. Another bill, SB 1444, allows local school districts to choose their healthcare plans to save employees money on premiums and deductibles. The bill also requires regional education service centers to establish an advisory committee to conduct a study assessing health care needs and health coverage options currently available to employees of school districts.
The Committee on Pensions, Investments & Financial Services has also been charged with reviewing several retirement funds to ensure proper governance and financial oversight. The review includes evaluating the Employees Retirement System (ERS) and Teacher Retirement System (TRS) pension funds, the Texas Local Fire Fighters Retirement Act, the Law Enforcement and Custodial Officer Supplemental Retirement Fund, and the Judicial Retirement System of Texas.
The Committee has also been tasked with evaluating public retirement systems and other trust funds in businesses controlled by the Russian government or Russian nationals. The Committee will determine the need for investment restrictions and consider the impact of any proposed investment restrictions on fund performance.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will post regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and share information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.