from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:Gabe Valenzuela
(512) 463-0121
April 26, 2004

ZAFFIRINI FILES BILL TO RESTORE TEACHER HEALTH INSURANCE

(AUSTIN) - Texas public school teachers and staff would have their unrestricted $1,000 pass-through for health insurance reinstated if the legislature passes Senate Bill 9, which Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, filed today (Monday).

After providing this benefit in 2001, the legislature faced a $9.9 billion shortfall in 2003 and reduced it to $500 for full-time and $250 for part-time school employees. It also restricted its use to health reimbursement arrangements.

"Teachers have told us repeatedly that they prefer health insurance coverage over incentive pay," Senator Zaffirini said. "After hearing this testimony again from educators, I filed SB 9 to restore this important priority for them."

Specifically, SB 9 would repeal a section of the law that changed the pass-through to teachers from $1,000 to $500 and from $500 to $250 for full-time and part-time employees, respectively. It also would repeal Chapter 313 of the Insurance Code that eliminated the pass-through and created health reimbursement arrangements.

In effect, SB 9 reinstates the $1,000 and $500 pass-through for teachers as the legislature passed it in 2001.

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