House Amends Pay Raise Bill
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Posted by: Kelly Riley
The Mississippi House of Representatives adopted an amended version of SB 2770, the teacher pay raise bill, yesterday afternoon that increases teacher pay by $4,000 over the next two years, rather than by $1,000 as proposed by the Senate. The House’s raise is implemented via increases to the salary scale steps.
Rep. Steve Holland of Lee County offered the amendment to increase the raise from $1,000 to $4,000. A motion was made during deliberations to table Holland’s amendment, but that motion failed by a vote of 50 yeas to 55 nays. Click here to see that vote. A “yeah” vote was a vote to table (kill) Holland’s amendment to increase the raise from $1,000 to $4,000, while a “nay” vote was a vote to support Holland’s amendment. Representatives ultimately passed SB 2770 by a vote of 112-2, with Representatives Bomgar (Madison County) and Criswell (DeSoto County) voting against the bill as amended.
A motion to reconsider was then entered, so it is possible that House members will reconsider their vote on the bill. They have until Friday to do so. If House members vote to table the motion to reconsider, the House version of SB 2770 heads back to the Senate. If House members vote to reconsider their vote, the bill could be amended. We are encouraging House members to table the motion to reconsider and send SB 2770 back to the Senate with the $4,000 raise, as it increases the bargaining spectrum if the bill goes to conference.
When the bill returns to the Senate, senators will vote to either accept the House’s amendment or to invite conference on the bill. The legislative leadership has indicated they will not know the final amount of any teacher pay raise until conference weekend when all of the pieces of the FY 2020 (2019-2020 School Year) budget are finalized, so senators may invite conference on the bill; however, senators could certainly adopt the House’s $4,000 raise and send the bill to the governor for his consideration. It is important that the final pay raise and benefits (i.e., PERS and health insurance) be fully funded by the legislature, as any unfunded mandate would be passed on to local districts to pay.
Rep. Holland’s amendment did not amend the language in the bill related to assistant teachers’ salaries. As passed the House yesterday, SB 2770 still provides a $1,000 raise to assistant teachers over a two-year period, increasing their base pay from $12,500 to $13,500.
It is critical for legislators to hear from their constituents on this issue. Please contact your representative and encourage him/her to vote to table the motion to reconsider in the House.
Click here for legislative contact information.