One of Governor Greg Abbott's emergency items announced earlier this month was pay raises for teachers. By declaring teacher pay an emergency items, legislators are allowed to pass bills for teacher pay right away. Normally, the legislature is required to wait 60 days to pass any legislation.

Earlier this year, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick proposed a $5,000 base pay raise for all full-time Texas teachers.

In January, Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound filed Senate Bill 3 (SB 3) to give every full-time classroom teacher a pay raise of $5,000 each year.

The budget cycle in Texas is two years, meaning that full-time teachers will get a raise of $5,000 for the 2019-2020 school year, and another raise of $5,000 for the 2020-2021 school year for a total base pay raise of $10,000.

Currently, SB 3 has more than 20 state senators signed as co-authors. SB 3 was voted out of the Senate Finance Committee unanimously after a public hearing on Monday.

During the hearing, some changes to the bill were made by the legislators. These changes include giving pay raises to charter school teachers as well as not allowing school districts to decrease teacher salaries in the future.

The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

As long as this bill passes in both the House and the Senate, it is expected to be signed by Gov. Abbott. The bill would take effect September 1, 2019 and apply immediately for the 2019-2020 school year.

J.M. Lozano serves as State Representative for Texas House District 43, which includes Bee, Jim Wells, Kleberg and San Patricio Counties.