Republicans love “local control” in theory, but we're finding that they're increasingly more opposed to it in practice. Take Alabama, where last year the legislature considered legislation that restricted local governments' ability to require certain types of paid leave. Unfortunately, the “give your boss the flu act” even got Democratic support.
Now it's back and even worse as HB-495, which has indicted Speaker Hubbard as a co-sponsor.
This bill isn't content with restricting local governments' ability to require sick leave. No, it spends a lot of time emphasizing that Alabama is a “right to work” state and we don't need no stinking unions here causing trouble. Sure, we already knew that, but our GOP leaders seem to spend a lot of time passing bills that make something that was legal even more legal, because… well… I have no idea.
No, the new piece of the puzzle with HB-495 deals with the minimum wage. It won't come as a surprise that Alabama is one of five states with no minimum wage law at all. That's right, campers! If it weren't for federal regulations, Hubbard & company would be happy to have us out there working for pennies, or even better, crumbs that fall from the table where he's dining with industry lobbyists.
Hubbard's bill is in direct competition with HB-279. That bill creates, for the first time, a state minimum wage – one that's larger than the federal minimum. It's a good try, but we know that Roy Moore will be performing a wedding ceremony for 3 lesbians on the steps of the state supreme court before it passes.
Still, even the chance that some local government might unduly burden business by requiring something close to a living wage is enough to spur legislative leaders to action:
(b) A county, municipality, or any political subdivision in this state shall not enact or administer an ordinance, policy, rule, or other mandate requiring an employer to provide any employee or any class of employees with any employment benefit, including, but not limited to, paid or unpaid leave, vacation, wage, or work schedule, that is not required by state or federal law, and may not require an employer to compensate an employee for any vacation or other forms of leave for which state or federal law does not require the employer to be ompensated.
In fact, the City of Birmingham is being urged to consider a minimum wage bill. The Over the Mountain Democrats club sent out this call to action for tomorrow (4/21):
Tuesday morning the Jefferson Co. Young Democrats have a long-standing place on the agenda of the Birmingham City Council to address the desperate need for wage increase legislation for the City.That presentation will occur, but in addition, the Jeffco Young Dems will make sure the Council is aware of this “local interference law”, inspired by ALEC, that precludes any local government from requiring minimum wage increases or improved vacation or sick-day benefits for employers within their jurisdiction.WE NEED YOUR HELP: Please attend the City Council meeting to support an increased minimum wage in Birmingham and to help alert the Council to the usurpation of their power and rights via the Local Interference Law HB 495.WHEN: Tuesday, April 21 – 9 AMWHERE: City Hall, 710 N 20th ST., 3rd Floor
Alabama's poor already have it worse than most, and the state GOP supermajority is determined to keep it that way. From refusing to expand Medicaid and wasting time passing resolutions that say they really, really oppose Medicaid to plotting to close most of Alabama's state parks, the GOP is determined to make things worse.
“Vote them out!” is a great slogan, but folks… the time to have done that is last November! They're in office until 2018 and we have no recall option in Alabama. The time to start preparing for the next election is NOW. Who knows how much damage they can do in the next three years… Alabama can't afford much more unchecked radical Republican control of state government.