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Pine Belt leaders react to governor’s State of the State address

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 9:27 PM CST
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Law enforcement, the COVID-19 pandemic and economics were all major points of Gov. Tate Reeves’ State of the State address Tuesday, but there was one topic that stood out.

“I would like to start with what I consider to be the crowning achievement of Mississippi’s ride through the pandemic and recession – our educators,” Reeves said.

The governor took several moments to discuss education in Mississippi, declaring teacher pay raises are at the top of his list during this legislative session.

“Teachers in Mississippi did not, and will not, back down amid this unprecedented educational battle between a virus and a child’s right to learn,” Reeves said. “That is why we must give our teachers the pay raise they deserve. It is my number one priority.”

It seems state lawmakers in both the House and Senate are on board with prioritizing pay raises.

“He’s talking about wanting to reward those persons in those different job descriptions with increases in pay and bonuses and those sorts of things so, he really encouraged the legislature to come forward with a significant teacher pay increase,” said State Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-District 41.

Two versions of teacher pay raise bills have already been passed in both legislative bodies.

“A version of it has passed both the House and the Senate. They’re a little bit different from each other but not wildly,” Fillingane said. “I feel like obviously, a compromise is well within reach and our teachers, you know, regardless of which version we ultimately go with or a compromise of those two versions, are in store for a very significant pay increase.”

According to Fillingane, it is likely that a conference committee will be called between both the House and Senate in order to compromise on a final teacher pay raise bill.

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