Dereck Davis Proposes Gutting County Minimum Wage Laws

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It’s bad enough when national Republicans pass terrible, stupid bills, but when Maryland Democrats do it, it really makes you wonder about the eternal question:

Yes, it’s a Pete Seeger song and he’s a legend but I really wanted to play a Dropkick Murphys tune tonight. 

So Dereck Davis, chair of the House Economic Matters Committee, the place where progressive legislation has gone to die for lo these many years, which side are YOU on?

A top Democratic lawmaker in Maryland wants to ban counties and cities from increasing minimum wage in their individual jurisdictions, a proposal that is likely to pit progressive Democrats who have embraced a national push for a $15 hourly wage against the party’s center- and right-leaning members.

Del. Derek E. Davis (D-Prince George’s), the chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee, has introduced a bill that would put the General Assembly in charge of setting minimum wage even for cities and counties.

Under the measure — which is similar to laws in place in Oklahoma, Alabama, South Carolina, Texas and Missouri — local governments could only set base pay for their own employees.

Davis said the bill would help improve the business climate in Maryland by making wage and benefit rules more predictable and consistent, noting that Montgomery and Prince George’s counties current have their own minimum-wage laws in place, and Baltimore considered a $15 base wage last summer.

“We’re not a collection of 24 individual fiefdoms,” Davis said “We have to work together as a state so we can attract and retain businesses, keep a healthy, strong economy, and not put our jobs at risk.”

“Oklahoma, Alabama, South Carolina, Texas and Missouri.” And now Maryland? With Democratic friends like these, who needs enemies? Let me remind Chairman Davis that this kind of local preemption bill is what brought down a REPUBLICAN  governor in North Carolina. You really think this will just slide on by in MARYLAND?

Montgomery County is not going quietly.

The legislation was met with fierce opposition from local lawmakers in Montgomery County, the state’s largest jurisdiction. They said the cost of living and job market is vastly different in the Washington suburbs than on the Eastern Shore or in Western Maryland, and each area should be able to set wages and benefits accordingly.

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Montgomery County Council member Tom Hucker (D), a former member of the House of Delegates who voted for the county wage hike, called Davis’s bill “a power grab” that he said was “cooked up by business lobbyists in Annapolis.”

If Democratic leaders are going to act like this in Maryland, with all that we’re facing in this country from national Republicans and here at home with Larry Hogan, and with a Democratic base increasingly moving left, maybe the problem isn’t our voters but our leaders?

At some point being a Democrat in Maryland has to stand for something. I’m trying to figure out what it means for Davis. I’ll tell you this – he wants to be the next speaker of the House of Delegates. This is not the way to make that case, sir. Last time I looked, this is a blue state – passing right wing anti-locality bills at the expense of our largest and most diverse county isn’t gonna get the job done.

This bill is an abomination, and it must be killed so viciously and brutally that no purported “state leader” ever again has the temerity to sponsor one like it in this state.

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