Sweeping prison reforms, a teacher pay raise and a voucher program for parents of special-needs children to use tax dollars for private schools or services are among measures that survived a Tuesday deadline for legislative committee action. Others weren’t so lucky.
HB585 – Criminal justice reforms
Aimed at reducing prison population and costs, it would create “true minimums in sentences, give judges more discretion with alternatives to prison sentences and expand the use of drug courts.” The Senate made some changes to the original House bill, meaning it will go to “conference” for differences to be worked out.
HB504 – Teacher pay raise
The House and Senate have separate teacher pay plans. The House plan would increase salaries by $4,250 over four years, and requires teachers with five years or more experience to meet “benchmarks.” The Senate version would increase pay by $2,500 over 16 months, raise starting teacher pay from $30,900 to $34,390 and would create a merit-pay system in fiscal 2017.