Senator Mike Morgan is attempting to deliver a pay raise to education employees who were inadvertently omitted from a salary increase bill passed in the final day of the legislative session. The Stillwater legislator plans to introduce corrective legislation when the Legislature returns in special session on June 14th.
"Education employees are just as deserving of a pay raise as other state workers and they should get one. That was our intent when we passed the pay legislation. They shouldn't have to take a financial hit just because there was a drafting error in the final bill," said Senator Morgan, vice-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
The accidental omission affected a number of education employees, including those at the State Department of Vocational-Technical Education in Stillwater, the State Department of Education, the State Regents for Higher Education and the Oklahoma School of Science and Math.
Senator Morgan plans to correct that mistake during the June 14th special session by introducing a "clean-up" bill that will add the affected education employees to the original pay raise legislation. The Governor called the special session to enact a delay in truth-in-sentencing legislation and to work on a higher education bond issue, but Morgan said the pay issue can be addressed during the short meeting as well.
"In light of the bipartisan support the pay bill received, I really don't see any problem with addressing it in special session. I don't think anyone would want to exclude education employees, especially when they were supposed to be included in the bill in the first place, said Senator Morgan.
Governor Keating signed the original pay raise legislation into law on Tuesday. It authorized a two percent pay hike for state employees, ranging from a minimum of $600 to a maximum of $1,000. The salary increase will take effect on July 1, 1999.