Following the lead of some of my favorite Alabama bloggers, who are going straight to the source for information and commentary on the legislature, I’ve asked freshman Representative Patricia Todd (D-District 54) to give us a newcomer’s perspective. Some of you followed the District 54 election dispute here; I’m happy to say that’s all behind us now and Patricia is in Montgomery serving all of her constituents. Here’s her first summary (thanks, Patricia!):
I have completed my second week in the legislature and introduced my first bill last week, The Alabama Minimum Wage Law. This bill would establish a minimum wage statute in Alabama (that’s right, we are one of only 6 states without a minimum wage statute). Right now, Alabama follows the federal minimum wage laws.
It has been over a decade since the Congress has raised the federal minimum wage, which stands at $5,15 per hour. Take into consideration that you should allocate about 30% of your income for housing and you would have to earn $10.55 an hour to afford a 2 bedroom apartment at fair market value. How are people supposed to live on $5,15 an hour??
Congress has considered an increase in the minimum wage to $7.15 over a two year period, but the bill is stuck in a conference committee. Alabamians deserve better and shouldn’t have to wait for the federal government to tell us what we should be doing here!
The bill has been referred to the Commerce Committee for consideration. Please contact members of the committee and encourage them to vote for the bill.
I have also drafted legislation to convene a Poverty Task Force, as well as an Affordable Housing Task force. The legislature can convene a task force to study an issue and make recommendations to be considered in the next legislative session. These two issues are of particular concern in House District 54 as well as throughout the state; as such, they deserve special attention. These task forces are the starting points for us to take significant steps in the fight against poverty.
In addition, I am pleased to report that I have co-sponsored the PAC-to-PAC transfer ban legislation that passed the House last week. I hope that the Senate will consider this long-overdue bill quickly. Rep. Paul DeMarco’s bill to require ethics training for legislators passed after a lengthly debate. Another good piece of public policy.
The Constitutions and Elections Committee will meet this week to consider the Constitutional Convention bill being introduced by Rep. D. Newton. I am a co-sponsor of this bill and hope that we can get this bill passed this year!