The federal government has failed to raise the minimum wage in over 10 years. While both the House and Senate passed a raise to $7.25 an hour phased in over 2 years, the US Senate amended the bill which sent it to a Conference Committee. The Conference Committee has failed to schedule a meeting on the bill and I believe working people deserve a raise NOW!
If you are making minimum wage your annual income is ONLY $10,700 and I would challenge any legislator to live on that salary.
UPDATE: Further comments from Rep. Todd:
Are you disgusted yet? I am.
This week in the Legislature my minimum wage bill was sent to a subcommittee to die.
The federal government has not raised the minimum wage in over 10 years and it still stands at $5.15 an hour. Annually that comes to ONLY $10,700!!!! I believe that passing legislation to raise the minimum wage is the most important “family values” issue we face.
I have heard the arguments against raising the minimum wage and understand that some are concerned that it will hurt small businesses while others suggest it is not needed because a free market will dictate wages. The best one I’ve heard is that “nobody pays minimum wage.” Right.
It is unbelievable to me that the same legislature that voted to give themselves a 62% pay raise would vote to kill a bill to raise the minimum wage to just over $2.00 an hour for over 126,000 minimum wage workers in Alabama. Over a hundred thousand Alabamians. Isn’t Alabama politics great?!?
I knew it would be a long shot to get the Alabama Minimum Wage bill passed. It was sent to the Commerce Committee where most of the members are Republicans or conservative Democrats (with the exception of my Democratic friends including Representatives Earl Hillard, Jr., Rod Scott, Peblin Warren, AJ McCampbell and Alan Harper). True to form, the Chair of the Committee, Rep Frank McDaniel, gutted my bill and the committee voted (by a voice vote) to send it to a subcommittee stacked with members who oppose the bill (except for Rep. Pebblin Warren).
On the positive side, we have started a dialogue about a living wage and the importance of growing our economy top to bottom. We should celebrate the growing economy of our state, but we need to remember those we have left behind–those who don’t have access to reliable transportation, access to health care and safe affordable day care. I will continue to work with others who believe, as I do, that poverty affects all of us and it is not about blaming the poor for their lack of resources and a systemic structure that can be paralyzing to overcome. I want to thank those who stood with me this week in this effort: Alabama Arise, the Alabama Poverty Project, AFL-CIO, UAW, Appleseed, the YWCA of Birmingham along with many more.
On other matters of the legislature, the Constitution and Elections committee passed the Constitutional Convention bill and it now awaits action in the full House. I think we will have a lengthy debate on the floor, but hope that it will pass the House and make its way through the Senate. The opposition is concerned about the influence of special interest groups (i.e. AEA) and they believe that we should revise the constitution article by article. [Ironically in so doing we the House has only taken up only a handful of articles over the past five years]. But in the spirit of compromise and progress, I say let’s do both! Let’s work on article by article as we move through the convention process, itself a lengthy, multi year process. Short term and long term solutions…now there’s a concept!
Thanks again for letting me share my experiences with you and I always look forward to your comments.