One House leader says it’s dead. Another begs to differ.
House Majority Floor Leader Steve Tilley (R-Perryville) says a teacher pay bill is dead, telling the Associated Press it will not see the light of day after the House stripped a provision that would have provided scholarships for special needs students to go to private schools. The bill is sponsored by House Speaker Rod Jetton, who insists it’s not dead yet.
It’s an unusual disagreement between two of the top leaders in the House.
Tilley shelved the bill on Wednesday evening after four hours of debate. The move came immediately after the House removed the scholarship program from the bill. That provision would have provided tax credits to individuals and businesses that contribute to a special scholarship fund. The money could be used to send special needs children, including those with autism, to private instruction.
Tilley favored the measure. As Majority Floor Leader, he determines what legislation comes to the House floor for debate. His statement, in effect, declares the bill dead.
Speaker Jetton sponsors HCS HB 2040 and 2430 . The main provision of the bill would raise the minimum annual teacher salary in Missouri from $23,000 to $31,000.
When asked about Tilley’s comments, Jetton replied, "I don’t consider it dead."
Jetton said he supported the provision stripped from the bill. He spoke in favor of it last night during floor debate.
"It was clearly a setback," Jetton said of the defeat of the scholarship program, "I don’t like to think it’s dead, but I do think we need get everybody calmed down a little bit and come back Monday."