The increased minimum wage has passed in the Tennessee House of Representatives, 52 to 43. Still waiting on a Senate vote...

UPDATE: It appears that more amendments, in addition to removing any regulatory enforcement or oversight, have severely gutted the bill. Employers with less than 50 employees appear to be exempt (it is not clear whether this amendment was voted on or included in the bill which passed "as amended").

Another amendment appears to exempt employees who do not have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. (This sounds unconstitutional, and I predict a court challenge.)

It also appears employers are only required to pay half the difference starting in 2007, and the bill will not go into full effect until 2008, depending on the status of these amendments.

There is also a provision that the minimum wage only applies to natural born and naturalized citizens, or workers here on valid work visas. It's hard to argue with that, except the flip side is that they are acknowledging that undocumented workers are a source of cheap labor, and they are still looking the other way to protect it, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. It's illegal to hire illegals, so this provision would seem to be redundant. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Say no more.

So the minimum wage is now effectively voluntary (the only recourse for employees being cheated is to sue their employers, and most will not have the means) and the bill exempts pretty much everyone who might have been covered, including college students, people working for tips, those without a high school diploma, and those working for employers with less than 50 employees.

UPDATE: The KNS has this wire report on the house vote. There's some interesting background.

UPDATE: It appears that the Senate has substituted the House bill as amended, indicated that there might be a vote forthcoming in the Senate this evening.

UPDATE The Tennessee Senate has killed the minimum wage hike. So I reckon that's that.

FOOTNOTE: Working people of Tennessee ought to remember this day come election time, and how Republicans in the Tennessee General Assembly represented them today.

One Republican proposed an amendment increasing the minimum wage to $25 per hour, presumably to make some sort of point. I suppose his point was that government shouldn't interfere with the markets. Yeah, right. Like Tennessee never propped up any tobacco farmers or car manufacturers. And Florida never propped up any sugar plantations. And the federal government never propped up any defense contractors, oil companies, etc. I bet that guy never had to work for minimum wage.

It's a Very Sad Day indeed for Tennessee. Republican legislators and their lobbyist benefactors are no doubt whooping it up at expensive restaurant happy hours right about now. At the same time, some single moms are starting their first shifts on their second jobs to put food on the table for their kids.

At any rate, it should be now be very clear to the working people of Tennessee which party is looking out for their interests and the interests of the least among us, versus who is looking out for big-money special interests.

OK, then.

talidapali's picture

All I needed to know...

was that the Republicans controlled the Senate, that and 25 cents will get you "no surprises here" and a cup of is too damn expensive.

Gee, I wonder if they ever saw that movie "Waiting"? I wouldn't be partying too hardy if I were a Repignorant Tennessee Senator right about now...


"You can't fix stupid..." Ron White

Paul Witt's picture

I love that movie. 

I love that movie.  Completely juvenile but hilarious.

And yes, color me shocked that the Republicans killed a minimum wage bill.  I'd like to think they'd pay a for it eventually but I'm just too cynical.

Brian A.'s picture

All wrong

Sorry Mr. Neal--GOP, Inc. is looking out for us.  You have it wrong and could learn from the economic minds in Nashville.  Leaders like TheRep get what you fail to understand:

I offered another amendment that said if you were a high school drop out, unless you had a GED, a dependent, were not capable of getting a GED or HS diploma, were 18 yrs old or you were emancipated then you were not eligible to receive the bump in pay. This would encourage kids to stay in school instead of drop out to make more money. A majority of people who get the minimum wage fit in this group. The majority of them live at home with parents and don't need the money.

See, kids today are dropping out of school to make more money that they don't need.   A cleaver proposal, isn't it?  In one swoop we protect Tennessee jobs and improve education.  If only we could eliminate the minimum wage entirely, no one would ever drop out of school.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

Factchecker's picture

TheRep doesn't have a very

TheRep doesn't have a very Fairandbalanced™ comments section.  I posted there a couple weeks back and my comment seemed to disappear, maybe waiting for the Right™ kind of moderator to approve it.  Or not.  Can't be too careful, I guess.  Noticed a lot of attaboy comments, though. 


Never has the left been so right.

Internet Esquire's picture

If your objective is to help

If your objective is to help the working poor, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit is a much more effective and equitable way of doing so than raising the minimum wage. Over two thirds of those who earn minimum wage are not living in poverty whereas many of the working poor are making a great deal more than the minimum wage and are raised out of poverty by the EITC. As such, the minimum wage is simply a huge off-the-books tax that redistributes wealth and income from employers to low wage employees.

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