Senate Names Education Committee, House Addresses Teacher Pay Raise Snafu

The first week of the 2020 Legislative Session is in the books! Philip Gunn was sworn in for a third term as Speaker of the House, and Delbert Hosemann, who will preside over the Senate, took his oath of office as our new Lieutenant Governor.

Lt. Gov. Hosemann announced this morning that Sen. Dennis DeBar of Leakesville will serve as chair of the Senate Education Committee, and Sen. David Blount of Jackson will serve as vice chair. Other committee members are Senators Nicole Boyd of Oxford, Hob Bryan of Amory, Scott DeLano of Biloxi, Sally Doty of Brookhaven, Angela Hill of Picayune, Briggs Hopson of Vicksburg, Chris Johnson of Hattiesburg, David Jordan of Greenwood, Michael McLendon of Hernando, Chad McMahan of Guntown, Sollie Norwood of Jackson, John Polk of Hattiesburg, and Brice Wiggins of Pascagoula. We look forward to working with them!

Yesterday, the House started the year on a good note when it passed HB 1, an $18.4-million teacher pay raise deficit appropriation to cover the shortfall that occurred at the end of the last legislative session due to a calculation error. The Senate is expected to follow suit in short order.

In other news…my phone started ringing last Saturday with calls from folks angry about Tate Reeves’ nomination of former senator Nancy Collins to the State Board of Education. Northeast Mississippi voters soundly defeated Collins at the ballot box when she ran for re-election in 2015. Her overwhelming defeat was attributed to her poor voting record on public education and her repeated attempts to reduce PERS benefits for teachers and other state employees. State Board appointments are subject to the consent of the Senate. I will keep you posted as I learn more.

The House and Senate are still getting organized, and no education bills beyond HB 1 (teacher pay raise fix) have been posted online as of today. As always, you can count on us to keep you in the loop and let you know what’s good, what’s bad, and what you can do to ensure strong public schools for Mississippi children. Watch your inbox for our updates! I’ll be in touch soon.

– Nancy Loome, Executive Director