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Transcript of Recorded Conversation Regarding Dues Checkoff Legislation

You may have heard that the dues checkoff issue came up in the recorded conversation between Speaker Bonnen, Representative Burrows, and Michael Quinn Sullivan that was released to the public earlier this week. The tape captures Rep. Burrows and Sullivan discussing the partisan political benefits of a bill and a possible legislative strategy for bringing it to a vote in the House next session. This conversation shows that the issue hasn’t gone away and remains a priority for Empower Texans and their allies. 

MICHAEL QUINN SULLIVAN:· Yes. On the economic side, yes. On the political side, I would put ending funding for union dues. The government collection of union dues. Only because, you know, a good reading of Sun Tzu notes the first thing you do is cut off your enemy's supply lines. 98 percent of union money goes to Democrats. You can justify, with a straight nonpolitical face, not having government fund the collection of union dues.
DUSTIN BURROWS:· We get the Republicans on the floor can -- well, see the problem we get into -- and I found this out -- I almost didn't have the votes to pass the bill because the teachers' unions being against it, which was scary. You get a couple of the Pub Ed Republicans, and then they get scared of the fire, police stuff. I'm not saying it can't be done. 
MICHAEL QUINN SULLIVAN:· That's the problem you have is that why are you guys scared of the public teacher unions, the fire and police it's because-
DUSTIN BURROWS:· We just have to put it on the floor like we did. Here's the thing: It's also a two-cycle process. If you can get taxpayer funded lobby. Now we have the threshold requirement, now, that some of it should be out there being made public. Most people don't understand what the hell taxpayer funded lobbying does. They don't know it's being used against police, fire, taxpayers everything else. Trying to expose it and build a case will make a difference to getting it passed next session. Union dues may be the same type of then you just have to flop it, get a test vote out of it, you know, and then push the narrative or try to push the narrative in between, to get that done. 

Early Voting Starts Monday, October 21

Early voting starts Monday, October 21, for the November 5 general election. Voters will go to the polls to decide the fates of 10 proposed constitutional amendments. Special elections will also take place in three House districts to fill vacancies left by retiring members: House District 28 (Fort Bend County; Rep. John Zerwas); House District 100 (Dallas County; Rep. Eric Johnson); and House District 148 (Harris County; Rep. Jessica Farrar).

The constitutional amendments include diverse matters such as the appointment of municipal judges, water development bonds, temporary property tax exemptions in disaster areas, the prohibition of an individual income tax, dedicating sales and use taxes to state parks, bond money for cancer research, increasing revenue to public schools from the available school fund, creation of a flood infrastructure fund, exempting precious metal from property taxes, and allowing the adoption of retired law enforcement animals without a fee. Early voting ends on November 1, so don’t forget to get out and exercise your constitutional privilege!

SSB Investor Alert: Private Oil and Gas Offerings

Oil and gas private offerings are speculative, complex, and packed with jargon only experts can decipher. Read the Texas State Securities Board Investor Alert:

Median public pension plan investment return assumption falls to 7.25 percent

The National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA) reports that since 2009, the median contribution rate paid by public employees to state retirement systems has increased by 20% (5.0% to 6.0%).
During this period, at least 35 states, including Texas, have increased contribution rates. NASRA also notes that a number of states have introduced risk-sharing into their pension plans, whereby employees contribute at variable rates depending on the pension fund’s actuarial condition, the plan’s cost, or the amount of employer’s contribution.
NASRA also observes that public employers are turning to hybrid plans that shift more employee contributions into the defined contribution part of the plan. The trend toward allocating more of the risk of plan performance to employees may be expected to continue as state pension funds face mounting challenges with long-term plan solvency and cash-strapped state legislatures. For more information, check out NASRA’s website at

One Dallas Adviser Suspended, A Second Ordered to Repay Commissions

Texas Securities Commissioner Travis J. Iles on June 6 sanctioned two Dallas-area investment adviser representatives for selling unsuitable investments to clients. Read more.

Statement by Gary Anderson, Executive Director.

In the wake of the 86th Legislative Session, state employees have every right to be angry and frustrated with the Legislature’s continuing neglect of its own workforce. Out of a $250 billion budget (a 16% increase over the current biennium), lawmakers found over $11 billion, including tapping funds from the Rainy Day Fund, to provide the employees of the state’s independent school districts and state judges substantial salary increases. However, their failure to identify adequate resources to grant a modest and long overdue salary increase for their own state agency employees is both stunning and deplorable. Some legislative leaders have attempted to rationalize their actions, citing consideration was given to some agency personnel on a “targeted basis,” and these raises are welcome. However, to use that rationale as a defense of such disproportionate funding would be laughable if the disparity was not so gross in every sense of the word.

Brian Barth Elected to ERS Board of Trustees

The results are in! Brian Barth, Director of Project Planning and Development for the Texas Department of Transportation, has been elected to a six-year term on the ERS Board of Trustees. TPEA’s Board of Directors unanimously endorsed Brian for election at the commencement of the campaign earlier in the year. His term will commence on September 1, 2019 and run through August 31, 2025.
Brian was elected with 50.5% of the vote to Cora Bennett’s 49.5%. He received 17,019 votes out of 33,723 votes cast. The total number of votes represents 9.51% of ERS’s 355,690 eligible voters. While Ms. Bennett polled about 900 more paper ballot votes, Brian comfortably won the web ballot count by more than 1,200 votes, giving him a final margin of 315 votes. Brian also won a majority of both the annuitant and contributor votes, while Ms. Bennett took a majority of the non-contributor ballots. Brian polled particularly strongly in TXDOT and ERS, offsetting Ms. Bennett’s advantage in smaller agencies, HHSC, and DFPS.
TPEA members contributed heavily to Brian’s margin in web ballots, which proved decisive in the race. ERS Board elections typically draw about a 10% turnout, and this election was no exception. We deeply appreciate our members turning out for Brian - your vote made the whole difference!

TPEA’s 1 for $10 New Member Recruitment Program

EVERY new member recruited gets you a $10 gift card for:
Amazon, Walmart, Target, Starbucks, Academy, Whataburger, or TJ Maxx/Marshall’s/HomeGoods

Each new member you recruit will have the chance to win a $10 gift card in our monthly New Member Drawings! AND each new member puts you in the entry for a monthly drawing for a $100 gift card!
No prize limit, prizes awarded the first of every month

To receive credit for the members you recruit, ask each new member to write your name on their paper membership application or to list you in the “Sponsor” field on the online membership application. Download printable applications at, or direct potential members to the TPEA website. Questions? Call (888) FOR-TPEA (367-8732) or email

Latest News

2019 Scholarship WInner

Posted on 8/6/2019

Meet Julie

Posted on 4/19/2019

TPEA Recruiters of the Year

TPEA recognizes Tristan Conner and Thomas Pierce for their outstanding efforts recruiting on behalf of the association in the last year with the TPEA Recruiter of the Year award.

Congratulations to our 2019 scholarship winner, Wesley Crockett

This year’s recipient of the Liberty Mutual Insurance/TPEA Scholarship is Wesley Crockett from Rusk, Texas. Wesley’s application was sponsored by Charlene Crockett. Charlene is an employee at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Read more about Wesley.

Fast Facts About TPEA
  • 15,000 active and retired state employee members across Texas
  • Founded by state employees in 1946
  • Nonunion and nonpartisan, with no national affiliation
  • $7.50 monthly dues for active state employee membership
  • $2.50 monthly dues for retired state employee membership

Links for Chapter Officers

Chapter Officers Form

Chapter Financial Report