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State Lawmakers Address Teacher Retirement & Saying “Merry Christmas” in Public Schools

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ A plan to boost the financial stability of the Texas Teacher Retirement System requires teachers and the state to pay more in to the fund, while also setting up a benefit increase for some longtime retirees.

Under a bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday and sent to the House, teachers will see their contributions to the $117 billion benefit fund rise from 6.4 percent in 2014 to 7.7 percent in 2017. The state will also increase its contribution from 6.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

And school districts that do not currently contribute to Social Security would start paying in at 1.5 percent.

The bill also would give a 3 percent benefit increase for teachers who have been retired for 15 years or more.

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ On the brink of summer, defending Christmas is on the wish list of the Texas Legislature.

The House on Wednesday approved a bipartisan bill that aims to remove legal risks of saying “Merry Christmas” in Texas public schools. Traditional holiday symbols, such as a menorah or nativity scene, would also win a nod of state support so long as more than one religion and a secular symbol are also reflected.

State Rep. Dwayne Bohac says the bill seeks to protect schools from “ridiculous” lawsuits. Says the Houston Republican: “Teachers are fearful of calling a Christmas tree a Christmas tree.”

Several Santa Claus impersonators were in the House gallery when the bill came up. They rang sleigh bells upon passage.

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Posted by on May 8 2013. Filed under Featured Stories, News.

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