Texas Senate unanimously approves $5,000 raises for teachers

Texas Senate unanimously approves $5,000 raises for teachers

The Texas Senate voted unanimously to pass legislation that would provide full-time classroom teachers and librarians with $5,000 annual pay raises.

The measure, known as Senate Bill 3, has been a priority since Gov. Greg Abbott (R) declared teacher pay to be an emergency item during his State of the State speech in February, according to a local NBC station

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Senate Bill 3 is reportedly the first piece of legislation addressing an emergency item, which helps related bills to pass more quickly through the legislative process, to be approved by either of the state’s chambers.

Every member of the state’s Senate reportedly signed onto the measure as a co-author.

"We know that teachers are dipping into their own personal funds to pay for classroom supplies. Our teachers are struggling financially," state Sen. Jane Nelson (R), who authored the bill, said Monday, according to the local station. "The one thing we need to do first and foremost is to recognize the need to uplift our whole teaching profession."

The bill reportedly passed the state Senate on Monday after being amended to include librarians, a stipulation that was successfully pushed by Nelson.

"Librarians are teachers. ... I didn't realize that we as a state require our librarians to have spent two years in the classroom," Nelson added.

However, Nelson reportedly blocked efforts by Democratic lawmakers to include other school employees such as counselors and nurses in the measure, arguing that their inclusion would add too much costs to the already multibillion-dollar bill.

The bill now heads to the House for consideration. If passed the by the House, the measure will then head to the Abbott’s desk for his signature.