by Bill Elkin
As of this writing, there are 37 days left in the regular 85th Session of
the Texas Legislature. From this date onward the chaos will get worse, and
every official, in both houses ( Senate and House of Representatives )will try
to get their own pieces of legislation passed.
Regarding the "Houston Pension Compromise" there is a lot of talking from
the Houston Firemen, both from the Pension System and Firefighters union, trying
to obtain amendments to their section of the senate version, SB 2190. From
rumors, they have been only successful in getting back to where their
broke off back in October with the City of Houston. I have been attempting
to get an amendment to change the election process regarding the election of an
active officer going into Phase Down A or B for the Board of Trustees. There
has been a lot of sympathy on the issue, but no action thus far.
The Senate version was placed on the Senate Floor Calendar 2 weeks ago, but
was removed. Obviously because of negotiation with the firemen. It was placed
back on the Floor Intent Calendar this week. Since there will be offered floor
amendments to SB 2190, no one can tell me what those amendments will be.
The House version of the compromise, HB 43 came out of committee without
the baggage of the POBs ( Pension Obligation Bonds ) on it. Chairman Flynn's
staff advised me that he would not accept any amendments when his bill gets to
the House Floor. When the bill was voted out of committee, there was one vote
against it, coming from Vice Chair, Roberto Alonzo. When we visited with him
on Tuesday, he told us that he had changed his vote and was now in favor of the
We checked with the Calendars Committee to see when it might be set for
the Floor Calendar. We were told that they had not yet received the paper work
from the Pension Committee and it might be a week or two before it would be
As of this time neither of the two bills have been passed by either House.