SB 653

85(R) - 2017
House Public Education
House Public Education

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Positive
  • Neutral


Van Taylor

Bill Caption

Relating to the eligibility of certain employees or annuitants convicted of certain felony offenses.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated. 

Bill Analysis

This bill would add a chapter to the code related to the benefits from the public retirement system of Texas. If this bill passes, a list of “qualifying felony” offenses would be added to a chapter and if a person is convicted of one of those offenses, and if the victim is a student, the person would not be eligible to receive a service annuity from the retirement system. The qualifying felonies pertain to crimes such as kidnapping, indecency with a child, improper relationship between an educator and student, and other serious crimes that contain elements that are substantially similar. A person who is not eligible to receive the benefits would be entitled to a refund of the person’s retirement annuity contributions including interest. Additionally, if a person’s conviction is overturned they may resume the annuity payments and would be entitled to an amount equal to the accrued total of payments and interest earned during the suspension. This would apply to a person who is a member of the retirement system and is or was an employee of Texas Juvenile Justice Department in one of their institutional schools.

This bill would add this list of qualifying felonies to the portion of the code related to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. This section would apply to any person who is a member of the retirement system and is or was an employee of the public school system.

Finally, this bill would create a finding of fact regarding an offense related to performance of public service. If a judge determines that the offense committed was related to the defendant’s employment under one of these chapters, the judge would be required to enter an affirmative finding of fact, and to enter it into the judgement, and it would be reported to the retirement system. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

This bill satisfies our commitment to personal responsibility. Governments are instituted to protect individual rights, and when someone uses their position of power over a student, they are exercising a form of coercion; those who commit this crime deserve to be punished to the fullest extent under the law. This bill would provide a steep penalty for certain misconduct with students, and in doing so would keep people personally responsible for their actions.  

Organizations Supporting

Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas
Texas Classroom Teachers Association