Shortly after Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett distinguished himself as the first Democrat, ever, anywhere, to veto an increase to the minimum wage, Delegate Dereck Davis, a long-serving Democrat from Prince George’s County took it upon himself to make sure that such a frightening prospect for his business constituents would never rear its head again. He introduced a bill, straight out of the playbook of the American Legislative Exchange Council (or, ALEC), a conservative lobbying consortium that hosts get-togethers for conservative state legislators around the country to practice passing legislation that has been literally written by business lobbyists to serve their clients’ needs. It’s sort of a Model UN for sociopaths, except that they then take that legislation back to their states and attempt to implement it.
This bill, HB 317, would explicitly prohibit any county or city in Maryland from raising the minimum wage locally, making the minimum wage a state-level-only matter. It also would do a solid job of kneecapping a statewide minimum wage increase as there would be no local momentum pushing it, nor local evidence that a $15 minimum wage does not bring the economic ruin that its opponents always claim.
I was outraged by the proposal of this bill, as it violates a number of my core convictions, and astonished that a Democrat would be the one to push this attack on the working class. And so, I headed down to Annapolis with members of Progressive Maryland to articulate my thoughts and outline the reasoning for my opposition to HB 317 to the House Economic Affairs Committee, of which Del. Davis is the chairman.
He took exception to my testimony, and proceeded to issue a wet-noodle lashing in an effort to put me in my place without actually addressing what I had to say. I had a lot of fun that day, and relished the experience of holding corporate-first Democrats accountable. It’s a hobby I intend to pursue if I’m fortunate enough to win District 39’s support in this campaign.