Kudos to Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, Senate Education Chair Dennis DeBar, Appropriations Chair Briggs Hopson, and the Senate Education and Appropriations Committees for pulling the teacher pay raise from the wreckage of petty politics and bringing it back to life!
The Senate had made it clear early in the session that their top priority for the year was SB 2001, their teacher pay raise bill. Every senator voted for and coauthored the bill, a sign of how fervently they wanted it to become law. Today, the House killed it.
Last week, Speaker Gunn added the teacher pay raise language to his unpopular tax swap bill, an implied threat that the teacher pay raise would die unless his tax bill passed, a tax bill that public school supporters, business groups, manufacturers, farmers, and retirees have opposed.
When senators learned that SB 2001 had died, they put pride aside and took up HB 852, the House pay raise bill, passing it out of committee ahead of tonight’s deadline. Chairman DeBar said when taking up the bill, “We are going to make sure that we put teachers over politics … that the livelihood of our educators is not toyed with, and that we, as the Senate, ensure our educators are compensated well for the work that they do, especially during these trying times.”
Make no mistake about it, folks, HB 852 may bear a House number, but this is the Senate’s teacher pay raise bill. Please thank the Senate Education and Appropriations Committees for making our teachers a priority and keeping their well-deserved pay raise alive.
Look over the Bill Tracker page of our web site to see how other bills fared on deadline day and to check the status of all of the bills we are watching. Many thanks to those of you who rose to the occasion to urge legislators to pass a teacher pay raise out of committee today. Your senators heard you and responded. What a blessing!
You’ll have a chance on Thursday to hear directly from legislators who authored important dyslexia bills. Join us via Zoom on Thursday at 5:30 for an hour of REAL TALK. You can submit your questions for Sen. Boyd and Rep. Deweese by replying to this email, or you can drop them in the chat box on Thursday. If you registered for last week’s session you’re good to go. If you haven’t done so already you can sign up for your spot here.