W.Va. Senate Committee OKs Education Bill Jeered by Teachers

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia senators have advanced education legislation viewed by teachers as retaliation for last year’s nine-day statewide strike.

The Republican-led Senate voted 18-16 as a committee Thursday to advance the comprehensive bill to the full Senate, where it later underwent a first reading. Republicans Bill Hamilton and Kenny Mann joined Democrats in voting against it.

On Monday, the Senate approved a rare motion to have the entire chamber consider the bill as a committee rather than send it to the finance committee, where there may not have been enough votes to pass it.

In addition to providing an additional 5 percent pay raises to teachers and other state employees, the bill also would create public charter schools, establish savings accounts for families to pay for private school and require teachers to sign off annually on union dues.