Over the years, more than a dozen municipal retirement systems have convinced the Legislature to codify certain parts of their pen-sion plans in state law, such as contribution rates, benefit levels andthe composition of their board of trustees. By establishing these pro-visions in state law, these select few systems have made it difficult tomake good government changes locally.

Absent legislative action, many critical features of these state-governed systems cannot be changed or modified by communi- ty stakeholders. Instead, a new law must be passed before reforms are realized, which is no easy feat.

Since the Texas Legislature only convenes a regular session for 140 days every other year, community stakeholders only have a short time to achieve reform. This narrow window can be an especially challenging hurdle to overcome for stakeholders who are new to the legislative process or lack the right connections.