Senate signs updated conference report, sends it back to the House with a few changes.
On Wednesday, lawmakers held a conference committee hearing to discuss the teacher pay raise legislation now housed under House Bill 530.
House conferees included State Representatives Kent McCarty (R), Richard Bennett (R), and Kevin Felsher (R). Rep. Bennett was unable to attend today’s meeting and Rep. Jansen Owens (R) filled in for him. Conferees in the Senate are Senators Dennis DeBar (R), Hob Bryan (D), and Briggs Hopson (R). Bennett and DeBar are the chairmen of their chamber’s Education Committee.
Last week, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn (R) announced that a conference report on a teacher pay raise had been signed by members of the House of Representatives that reflected their position on the issue. Rep. Bennett said they took into consideration portions of the Senate’s stance.
“We delivered the conference report for the best plan that has been put on the table,” Speaker Gunn said. “We passed the teacher pay raise bill the second week of session and we believe this is the way we need to go.”
During today’s conference meeting, Senator DeBar said the Senate conferees reviewed the conference report that the House had signed last week. They concurred with most of the report that the House provided and proposed a few changes. DeBar said that he would like to get this passed in the next day or two.
The Senate’s $246 million proposal would raise base teacher salaries by an average of $5,140 and teacher assistant salaries would see an increase of $2,000. A Class A teacher with a baccalaureate degree would start at $41,500.
At five-year marks in a teacher’s career up to Year 20, teachers would receive a larger increase between $1,200 and $1,350 based on their certification. They would receive a $2,500 increase at Year 25.
Under the Senate plan, teachers would also receive annual step increases of between $400 and $600 at most every year, including in the first three years of teaching.
In an interview following the meeting, Rep. McCarty outlined the next steps on the teacher pay raise bill negotiations following the Senate proposal in conference.
— Yall Politics (@MSyallpolitics) March 16, 2022
McCarty said that they would go down to the House budget office and rerun the numbers to make sure everything checks out, adding that he would meet with the Appropriations Chairman to run the increase in pay by him and go from there.
“If we can get all of that done today, this morning, and get our final approvals on our side, we could have this out and to the Governor as quickly as possible,” McCarty said.
“For the second year in a row, the Senate saved the teacher pay raise bill by prioritizing people above politics,” Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann said in a press release. “Senate Education Chairman Dennis DeBar developed this plan with the input of countless teachers with whom he met during the fall. We appreciate Representatives McCarty, Felsher, and Owen meeting with Senators DeBar, Bryan, and Hopson to finalize the bill and move it to the Governor’s desk.”
The House and the Senate adjourned for the day, but will both gavel in at 10:00 am tomorrow morning.
House conferees have signed off on the report offered by the Senate this morning. Now that an agreement has been reached and all conferees have signed off, the report will receive one more vote in each chamber before heading to the Governor for signature.
Representative Kent McCarty discussed the plan on Twitter and how it was a privilege to work on this legislation with his colleagues. He thanks Senate Education Chairman DeBar for his work to ensure this historic pay raise made it across the finish line.
Today, the House & Senate reached an agreement on The START Act— a nearly $250mil investment in MS teachers. Under this legislation, teachers will receive an average raise of $5,140, effective in the 2022-2023 school year. Asst. teachers will also receive a $2,000 raise. pic.twitter.com/FGzO3Wmrk7
— Rep. Kent McCarty (@KentMcCarty) March 16, 2022
The conference report has been filed. You can view it below: