In recent days, the unions West Virginia Education Association and West Virginia Federation of Teachers have denounced Tomblin's bill, saying it penalizes teachers and does nothing to increase student achievement.
At Thursday's meeting, Unger asked Mason for "data and evidence" to show that the existing teacher hiring practices prevent the best teachers from securing jobs.
"I'd like you to get some research that says this is a widespread problem," Unger said. "Right now, I just see a solution looking for a problem. We're taking a whole system and changing it because of some anecdotal problems."
Mason said the Governor's Office has fielded numerous complaints about teacher hiring practices, but she indicated that she doesn't have specific research or reports that document the problem.
"We're trying to make sure the faculty senate and principal can bring in the person who best fits [the school] environment," Mason said.
Sen. Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said lawmakers should remove the entire section of state law that dictates teacher-hiring practices.
"We should let the local school board develop the criteria," Carmichael said.
The Senate Education Committee meets again Tuesday. Teachers' union leaders are scheduled to speak.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.