From Trussville Tribune staff reports
BIRMINGHAM –A race of policy and politics is underway, pitting city against state in regard to raising the minimum wage in Birmingham. Ultimately, it may be Birmingham’s lack of a daily newspaper that decides the winner.
The Birmingham city council had previously passed an ordinance to raise the local minimum wage to $10.10 in two steps with the final jump coming in July of 2017. But a bill sponsored by Mountain Brook Rep. David Faulkner that would halt the measure sent city officials scrambling to enact a new ordinance immediately.
A press release on Tuesday from the city council stated, “The Birmingham City Council has once again displayed that a new paradigm is underway. After learning about state legislator David Faulkner’s move to try and prevent the minimum wage increase approved by the Council, a new ordinance was proposed that would make the increase go into effect on Wednesday, February 24, 2016. That ordinance was voted on Tuesday and passed with a 6-2 vote, thus making way for a minimum wage increase to $10.10.”
While the new ordinance is effective immediately, Kelsey Stein reported that spokesperson April Odom said the city is required to advertise the ordinance in the local newspaper and the ad would run in Sunday’s edition.
There is no longer a daily newspaper in Birmingham, so Thursday was not an option. Why the ad will not appear in the Friday edition of The Birmingham News, which is the next scheduled publishing day, was not immediately clear.
However, if things go as planned in Montgomery, any publishing day other than Thursday, may not matter.
Faulkner’s bill has cleared the state house and was approved by a senate committee on Wednesday. The bill is expected to go before the full senate for a vote on Thursday.
“It may take us all day, but Faulkner’s bill is at the top of our list,” Sen. Shay Shelnutt of Trussville said. “I’m confident we’ll get the bill passed today.”
Shelnutt said his concern was forcing a 30 percent labor increase on business owners.
“Forcing that kind of rise in labor cost overnight could be devastating to a small business owner,” Shelnutt said. “On the other hand, if a business owner feels strongly about paying their employees a minimum of $10.10 per hour, there is nothing in Faulkner’s bill that would stop them from doing that. In fact, they could have done it last week or last month or last year, if that’s what they wanted to do.”