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 provisions 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 community 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.