Member Advocacy and Education

CTPF is governed by Illinois law. The fund works to actively promote legislation that benefits members. Pensions provide secure and stable retirements for teachers, administrators, and public school personnel, yet their existence has come under attack. CTPF encourages all members to read and understand the facts about pensions and to share this information with friends, colleagues, and Illinois legislators. Advocating for your constitutionally guaranteed pension benefits is an important step in protecting your pension.

CTPF Education and Advocacy Topics

Current News

PA 98-0599 (Senate Bill 1) Ruled Unconstitutional

November 21, 2014, a Sangamon County Circuit Court judge ruled that Public Act 98-0599 is unconstitutional.

The legislation, signed December 5, 2013, changed the Illinois Pension Code for four of the five state pension systems: Teachers' Retirement System (TRS), State Employees Retirement System (SERS), State Universities Retirement System (SURS), and the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS). CTPF was not impacted by the law.

The law eliminated the State systems' unfunded liability by 2045, primarily by reducing benefits for retired and active members. The law was scheduled to go into effect on June 1, 2014, but implementation was delayed by the court case.

The Attorney General has announced that she will immediately appeal the Circuit Court's ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Click here for a summary of the provisions of PA-98-0599.

Governor Quinn Signs SB1922

June 9, 2014, Governor Quinn signed SB 1922, which changes pension law for Chicago's Municipal Employees and Laborers. The bill passes both the Illinois House and Senate on April 8, 2014. The new law, PA 98-0641, does NOT currently impact CTPF.

SB 1922 includes benefit changes for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 members, including a cut in COLA benefits, and increases in employee and employer contributions, and establishes an actuarially determined funding schedule for both funds.

Click here to read a summary of the law.
Click here to read the full text of the law.
Click here to read the Senate vote.
Click here to read the House vote.

Governor Quinn Signs New Pension Law for State System Public Act 98-0599 (Senate Bill 1)

A new comprehensive plan to overhaul the Illinois Pension Code for four state pension systems was signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn on December 5, 2013. The Illinois House and Illinois Senate passed pension reform legislation (Senate Bill 1) for four of the five state systems: Teachers' Retirement System (TRS), State Employees Retirement System (SERS), State Universities Retirement System (SURS), and the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) on December 3, 2013. This legislation does NOT currently impact CTPF.

The law eliminates the State systems' unfunded liability by 2045, primarily by reducing benefits for retired and active members.

The law was scheduled to go into effect on June 1, 2014, but a temporary restraining order has temporarily delayed the implementation of the law.

Click here for a summary of the Bill provisions.

Click here for a summary of the vote in the Illinois House

Click here for a summary of the vote in the Illinois Senate

Click here to view the complete text of the Bill

CTPF's Role
The legislature determines the laws and rules that govern our fund. The CTPF Board of Trustees administers the law and protect the Fund's finances to ensure retirement security for all members.

CTPF Educational and Training Opportunities

WEBINAR: February 25, 2015, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
The Buck Stays Here: CTPF Members Making an (Economic) Impact
Register at (case sensitive)

Register to attend CTPF's online webinar offering an overview of the positive economic impact CTPF Members have on the economy in Chicago and the State of Illinois. The presentation will review the 2015 Economic Impact Statement and offer ways to share information with local legislators.

CTPF Webinar Library

If you've missed our webinars, you can watch recorded versions of the presentations by clicking on the links below. Please Note: The webinars are hosted by GoToMeeting. If you are using Internet Explorer 11, you will need to download the Go To Meeting Codec, available at this link.

End of Fiscal Year Review, offered June 11, 2014
CTPF Board of Trustees President and Interim Director Jay C. Rehak and CTPF Lobbyist Steve Zahn for a summary of the fund at the end of our fiscal year, and a review of important legislation and legislative events from 2014.

Click here to register for the webinar.

An Introduction to Pension Fund Governance offered May 13, 2014
Do you know the Fundamentals about your pension fund? What role the Board of Trustees have in governing CTPF? Why CTPF elections are important? How decisions made in the State of Illinois legislature can impact your pension? View our recorded webinar to learn more about one of your most important assets – your retirement pension.

Click here to view the recorded the webinar.

2014 Legislative Agenda, offered February 27, 2014
CTPF Communications Director Frances Radencic and Communications Specialist Jackie Umbles offer information about the fund and its legislative priorities for 2014.

Click here to view the recorded webinar.

Writing a Letter to the Editor, offered January 22, 2014
Speaking out to share your story is an important way to protect your pension. CTPF Communications Specialist Jackie Umbles will walk you through the process of writing a letter to your local newspaper editor. Click here to view the recorded webinar:

If you would like to view the slide presentation from the webinar in PDF format (without narration), please click here.

State Pension "Reform" Update Webinar, offered December 3, 2013

Kevin B. Huber, CTPF Executive Director, offers an overview of pension reform legislation that passed for State pension systems last December. Click here to view the webinar. Please Note: The webinar is in Windows Media format, which should be supported by all Windows PCs. If you are using a Mac, you'll need to install Windows Media for QuickTime, which you can find here on Microsoft's Web site. Windows Media is not supported on devices such as the iPad or iPhone.

Click here for a summary of the Questions and Answers from the Webinar.

CTPF's 2014 Legislative Agenda

The CTPF Board of Trustees has approved the following legislative priorities for 2014. CTPF thanks the senators and representatives who have sponsored and support these bills.

CTPF Legislative Action Center

Need help finding your local representatives?


The Legislative Action Center provides an important resource for CTPF members. When you visit the action center you can look up your elected representatives by typing in your zip code, send an email to your legislators, and find out more about CTPF legislative efforts. If you register at the Legislative Action Center, you will automatically be enrolled in our new CTPF Pension Fund Ambassador program.

Pension Fund Ambassador Program
We've developed the CTPF Pension Fund Ambassador program to encourage our members to educate lawmakers and decision makers about the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund, its legislative priorities, and our members. We want legislators to understand the people behind the pensions, and to hear the facts about the fund straight from our members. Click here for more information about the ambassador program.

Ready to advocate for your pension? Click here for more Resources for Members.

Join today
You can register for the ambassador program by clicking here.

Member Education and Advocacy Documents

CTPF has several documents which members can use to educate themselves and their legislators about pensions and their importance to Chicago's teachers, principals, and administrators.

Education Documents

These documents are designed to educate CTPF members about the fund's current financial situation and legislative priorities.

  1. CTPF Member Education - This document offers basic facts and information about CTPF along with an overview of CTPF legislative priorities.
  2. Mistakes of the Past - This document reviews CTPF funding history and explains why we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past (full color).

Advocacy Documents

These documents are designed to be shared with legislators and policy makers. They were developed with the cooperation of the Chicago Teachers' Union, the Retired Teachers Association of Chicago, and the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association.

Pensions Matter: Understanding the Economic Impact of CTPF Pensions

CTPF educators make an immeasurable impact on children: educating, nurturing, and helping them grow into productive citizens and future leaders. Yet an educator's impact extends far beyond the classroom - active and retired educators are also consumers, taxpayers, and voters - who live and work in Chicago and surrounding communities.

Our report, The Buck Stays Here, examines the impact that CTPF educators have outside the classroom, and the benefits pensions offer the economy of the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois.

Cover Image for our Economic Impact Document, with several colorful stick figures holding up signs bearing a dollar sign
Click the image above to download The Buck Stays Here: Understanding the Economic Impact of CTPF Benefit Payments on the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago.

Pensions Matter - Economic Impact by Legislators

CTPF has broken down the impact that pensions have on our economy by legislative district in Illinois. Make your own impact on legislators by printing out and personalizing these documents for your local lawmakers. Pensions Matter - tell your legislators.

Economic Impact: Individual Sheets for Senators

Economic Impact: Individual Sheets for Illinois House of Representatives Members

Other Advocacy Documents

  1. Leave Behind Information for Legislators - This document summarizes facts about CTPF and its legislative priorities and has space where you can write in your own contact information. Take this with you and leave it behind when you meet with a legislator.
  2. Fair Funding Flyer - This publication illustrates the need for fair funding for CTPF pensions. It illustrates the fact that the State of Illinois gives CTPf less than a penny for every dollar it pays in downstate teachers' pensions. This flyer is designed to be shared with a legislator or policy maker and includes a space to write in your name and contact information.
  3. Sample Text for a Letter - If you plan to write or E-mail your lawmakers, you can download this text and use it as a template to help you get started. Click here to download a text file.

Ways to Reach Your Legislator

CTPF encourages all members to get to know their legislators personally. If you can't meet personally with your representatives, there are several ways to share your views:

Tips for Meeting with Your Elected Representatives

Your legislators welcome feedback from their constituents and a meeting is a great way to share your thoughts and ideas. To make the most out of your meeting, consider these tips:

1. Educate yourself first.
Before you meet with an elected official, make sure you educate yourself on CTPF priorities. You can find links above to documents with background information about CTPF.

2. Schedule an appointment with the right person.
Legislators are interested in the views of their constituents so make sure you meet with the right person. Locate your legislator by clicking here. Many legislators offer walk-in or office hours when they are available. If you can't meet in person, try and call your legislator or send a fax summarizing your views.

3. Be prepared.
You wouldn't start your day in the classroom without a plan, so use the same approach to your legislative meeting. Make sure you're on time and have an outline of what you would like to share. Bring your CTPF materials with you and think of the meeting as a chance to educate your legislator. Be respectful of his or her time and perspective. This is a chance to make your point and to share information; the experience should be cordial, not confrontational.

If you discuss specific legislation, make sure you advocate for your position and ask for a yes or no on the bill in discussion. You want to make sure your legislator understands your position.

When the meeting ends, thank the legislator for his or her time and make sure you leave behind your CTPF flyer with your contact information.

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Last Modified 04 13 2011