Proposed Bill Affects Compensation and Retirement Benefits of Texas Elected Officials

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The Texas Legislature is considering a bill, H.B 2779 that would modify the compensation and retirement benefits of certain elected officials in the state. The bill would amend several sections of the Government Code related to the salaries and retirement annuities of district judges, appellate court justices, and certain other elected officials. The proposed changes would affect the base salary amounts and retirement benefits for these officials.

The bill proposes changes to Section 659.012(a) of the Government Code, which sets the base salaries for district judges, appellate court justices, and certain other elected officials. Under the proposed changes, the annual base salary for a district judge would increase from $140,000 to at least $172,494. The base salary for a justice of a court of appeals other than the chief justice would be set at 110 percent of the state base salary of a district judge, while the base salary for a justice of the supreme court other than the chief justice or a judge of the court of criminal appeals other than the presiding judge would be set at 120 percent of the state base salary of a district judge. The chief justice or presiding judge of an appellate court would be entitled to an annual base salary that is $2,500 more than the state base salary provided for the other justices or judges of the court.

READ THE FULL BILL HERE – H.B. 2279

The bill also proposes changes to Sections 814.103(a) and (a-1) of the Government Code, which set the retirement annuity amounts for certain elected officials. The standard service retirement annuity for service credited in the elected class of membership would be increased from 2.3 percent of $140,000 to 2.3 percent of the state salary being paid in accordance with Section 659.012(a) to a district judge. The retirement annuity for a member of the elected class of membership under Section 812.002(a)(3) whose effective date of retirement is on or after September 1, 2019, would be increased to an amount equal to the number of years of service credit in that class times 2.3 percent of the state salary being paid in accordance with Section 659.012 to a district judge who has the same number of years of contributing service credit as the member on the member’s last day of service as a district or criminal district attorney, as applicable.

The bill also proposes changes to Section 834.102(a) of the Government Code, which sets the base service retirement annuity for certain elected officials. The base service retirement annuity for a person whose effective date of retirement is before September 1, 2019, would remain at an amount equal to 50 percent of the state base salary being paid in accordance with Section 659.012(a) to a judge of a court of the same classification as the court on which the retiree last served before retirement. However, the base service retirement annuity for a person whose effective date of retirement is on or after September 1, 2019, would be an amount equal to 50 percent of the state salary being paid in accordance with Section 659.012 to a district judge of the same classification as the court on which the retiree last served before retirement.

The proposed changes to the Government Code would affect the compensation and retirement benefits of certain elected officials in Texas. The bill would increase the annual base salary for district judges, appellate court justices, and certain other elected officials and would increase the retirement annuity amounts for certain elected officials. The bill is still under consideration by the Texas Legislature and may be subject to further changes before it becomes law.

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