State Capitol Highlights

Lawmakers plan to file teacher pay legislation in special session

AUSTIN — A special session of the Texas Legislature, called by Gov. Greg Abbott, is set to begin on July 18. The agenda is big.

Before adjourning in late May, our 150 state representatives and 31 state senators did the only thing the Texas constitution requires them to do each time they meet for 140 days every two years: they passed a state budget to cover the next two years.

But Abbott decided he wanted them back in Austin to extend the functions of the Texas Medical Board, and to do it with all possible speed. Abbott added a while-you’re-at-it list of 19 other topics for lawmakers to resolve to his satisfaction after they breathe new life into the Texas Medical Board.

Since then, several lawmakers have stepped forward, announcing their intentions to file bills to take care of Abbott’s other topics. For example, Rep. Travis Clardy plans to file legislation to address teacher pay, recruitment and retention. Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, will be joined in the effort by Rep. Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont, and Rep. Richard Raymond, D-Laredo. “Every Texas student deserves the opportunity for a quality education,” said Clardy. “That means we must have motivated teachers joining the ranks of the many outstanding professionals we have in Texas classrooms today. The first step to accomplishing that goal is providing competitive pay for our teachers while encouraging some of our best and brightest to work where our education needs are greatest. We must also give our school districts the tools they need to retain and reward our best teachers.”

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