Kentucky lawmakers on Friday overrode Gov. Matt Bevin's vetoes of tax and budget bills that boost spending on public education with the help of additional tax revenue, in a victory for teachers. They were also calling on Kentucky lawmakers to override the governor's veto of a $22 billion budget bill that contained significant education funding.
Senate budget Chairman Chris McDaniel quickly responded, saying that legislators budgeted about $96 million in "excess funds" - in other words, more income than spending - and they added $50 million more to the state's "rainy day" reserve fund.
"You know how many hundreds of thousands of children today were left home alone?" "They think we are going to get exhausted and go home", she said.
In Arizona, after weeks of teacher protests and walkout threats across the state, Governor Doug Ducey promised a net 20 percent raise by 2020. But 57 Republicans eagerly voted to override, asserting their independence after a tumultuous year marred by a sexual harassment scandal. Rep. Joni Jenkins, D-Shively, said the bill raises new money "on working folks" while "giving a $500 million rebate to our wealthiest and corporations".
Educators want those bills to become law because they generate new revenue which will restore funding to public education - funding that Bevin proposed cutting.
Thousands of teachers rallied inside and outside the Capitol on Friday. West Virginia teachers went on strike for more than a week in March, eventually receiving a 5 percent pay increase, Politico reported.
In a prepared statement, the cabinet said production companies are allowed two years after their credits are approved to start a project, so it's unknown how much of that money Kentucky ultimately will have to pay.
Inspired by her special needs students, Leslie Busch joined her fellow teachers Friday at the state Capitol in Frankfort in what the Kentucky Education Association called "a day of action".
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The veto put Republican lawmakers in a tough position, asking them to vote a second time on a tax increase in an election year. The governor could call lawmakers back for a special session to pass a new budget and revenue bills.
Teachers descended again on Frankfort Friday to demand legislative support for education funding.
"Here's what's insane to me", Bevin told a reporter from WDRB. But the Oklahoma Education Association wanted teachers' raises to be $10,000 on average. She said the protest had moved on beyond pensions to the stagnant funding for public education. "They've done nothing to improve that process", said Carpenter. "We apologize for any inconvenience, but this will be an important day to advocate for students".
The pension bill that Bevin signed will mostly affect future workers, especially teachers, who will no longer receive conventional pension plans.
Kentucky State Police limited access into the building to only 500 protesters at a time, creating a crowded bottleneck of people trying to enter the Capitol.
Districts also closed on March 31-another Friday-after Bevin and Kentucky's Republican-controlled state legislature passed a pension reform law on March 29, according to CNN.
The pension changes have already drawn a court challenge.