The House passed the Teacher Salary Enhancement Act 91-0. Raised from $31,800 to $36,000, teacher starting salaries will get a boost over the next four years. You can find the entire salary schedule at arkansashouse.org. There are 168 schools that currently pay the minimum salary.

In HB1321, the House voted to increase homestead property tax credit from $350 to $375.

The House also passed the Right to Read Act, SB153. This act would require open-enrollment public charter schools as well as public schools to include a literacy plan in annual school-level improvement plans. Improvement plans would include specific school literacy needs, professional development, and would also need to align with the Science of Reading Initiative. Additionally, the Arkansas Department of Education would be required to make a list of resources and materials available and supportive of the Science of Reading Initiative.

I voted for all these bills.

Other advancing bills in committee include HB1302. The House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor committee advanced this bill as an Act to Create the Red Tape Reduction Collective Rulemaking Act of 2019. Such a bill would create a process for similar agencies to create collective rules and regulations for the process of expedition. The provision would also allow agencies to respond to new legislation regarding occupational licensing to act in a timely manner.

In community news, I have been busy attending and preparing to attend events important to District 11, and that includes prioritizing education and Arkansas students. As you can see in the passed House bills, education legislation is important and on the forefront with the Arkansas Assembly.

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining my legislative colleague, LeAnne Burch, in hosting some outstanding students from Crossett High School. These students were taking part in touring the Capital and seeing, up close, how the legislative process works. Crossett holds both Districts 9 and 11. I encourage other schools from District 11 to participate.

Also, in education news for the District, it is my hope to be able to attend the Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education (AGATE) conference later in the month. AGATE is an organization that supports educational excellence among children and youth in Arkansas. I will keep you posted as I get to share in such a great event supporting our students.

Continuing our celebration of black history month, I would also like to share with you that I had the distinct honor of being one of the awards recipients for the 15th annual King Kennedy Awards this past weekend. Each year, the Arkansas Democratic Black Caucus hosts the King Kennedy Dinner, established in 2005, to honor and recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to their communities and our great state. I was humbled to be a part of this group, and I received the President’s Award.

Finally, it is my goal to represent the constituents of District 11 in the most informative manner. If you need to reach me, feel free to contact me at my House of Representatives email at [email protected] or by phone at 501-682- 6211.