By Matthew Tyson
I’m writing this mere hours after Governor Bentley signed a bill into law that prohibits cities and municipalities in Alabama from setting their own minimum wage.
The bill, which supporters deemed necessary to protect Alabama jobs, was fast tracked by the State Senate (with universal Republican support) in order to stop efforts by the Birmingham City Council to raise the city’s minimum wage to $10.10.
In doing so, they made this about so much more than wages.
All my life, I’ve been told that the Republican Party is the champion of individual rights and small government. Every election cycle, Alabama Republicans canvas my television, my mailbox, and my Facebook page with campaign messages about how they’re fighting to keep “big government” out of Alabama. They’re the ones who want less government and more freedom. They’re the ones sticking up for subsidiary. They’re the ones keeping the big, scary federal government out of our business.
But today, every bit of that talk went out the window. With the stroke of a pen, the GOP leadership abandoned their “small government” rhetoric and unapologetically usurped power from every city council and local government in the State of Alabama.
It was a bold and stunning display of hypocrisy, and the message was clear: party politics comes first. The Republicans in Alabama only want small government when it coincides with their platform, and they’ll do whatever it takes to stop anything that falls outside the lines of their ideology.
There are many people tonight who, like me, are angry. They’re frustrated. They’re disappointed. And I want to encourage everyone reading this who feels that way to remember something.
In two years, every person who voted for this bill will be up for re-election. They’ll be asking for your vote and looking to you to keep them in office. They’ll talk about freedom. They’ll talk about small government. They’ll talk about how much they care about the State of Alabama.
I want you to think about that when you go to the ballot. I want you to remember what took place on February 25th, 2016. Remember who deliberately took power from local governments just to keep Alabama workers from earning a living wage. Remember that, and then vote them out.
Matthew is an Anniston native, a writer, and a representative of the Democrats for Life of America. If you want to support the DFLA cause in Alabama, you can contact him at [email protected]