The Virginia Senate has voted down a proposal by Governor Gilmore that would have increased teacher salaries by 3.5%. Why would this be struck down? Well, Gilmore tacked it into a totally unrelated bill. So unrelated, in fact, that Lt. Gov. John Hager ruled that it’s constitutionally illegal to do so. (That bill, by the way, was Sen. Emily Couric’s, and would have permitted some retired teachers to be rehired without disrupting retirement benefits.) What’s going on here? I’ve got my own theory, but discuss amongst yourselves.
Governor Gilmore, I’m guessing, wants to make good on his promises to increase teacher salaries. The problem is that it’s a promise that he knows he can’t keep, fiscally. (No doubt related to the budget arguments over the past five weeks.) So what does he do? He attaches the proposal to a bill that’s unrelated, knowing full well that his Lt. Governor will declare it unconstitutional, and strike the whole bill down. Then, when we’ve forgotten exactly what happened, he gets to say that he tried to get teacher salaries increased, but the bill was struck down in the Senate.
In order to get this bill taken up again, it will take a vote that requires a 2/3 majority. I’m guessing we won’t hear anything more about it.