TN legislature tries to overturn living wage ordinance

My love/hate relationship with the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center continues.  They and I will probably never see eye to eye on the issue of panhandling.  However, they sent me the e-mail below, about an attempt in the Tennessee Legislature to reverse the living-wage law that ensures Memphis and Shelby County employees a decent living.  Thousands of people could see their standard of living reduced if this is allowed to pass.  On this issue I’m 100% in agreement with the MSPJC.  Please read the letter below, and if so inclined, take the suggested action.


It is urgent that you take a minute to email or call your state senator about Senate Bill 83. This legislation, which has passed out of committee and could be voted on the Senate floor THIS WEEK, forbids local governments from setting wages higher than the minimum wage. That means it will overturn the living wage ordinances we worked so hard to get passed in the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission, and it will keep other communities across the state from passing living wage ordinances. It will also overturn the prevailing wage ordinance passed by the City Council. This will mean lower wages for thousands of workers in a time when so many families are already in crisis. It is also a disturbing interference into local government affairs by our state legislature.

This type of legislation has been introduced for many years in the state legislature, but this is the first time since 2003 that it has passed out of committee. Our current legislature is more hostile to workers than it has been in past years, so your action is urgently needed to stop this bill.

Call or email your state senator TODAY or TOMORROW. To find out who your senator is, and his/her contact information, go to State Senate and type in your street address and city under “Find My Senator.” Right now, only calls to senators, not representatives, are needed. If you have trouble with this feature, call Rebekah at WIN at (901) 332-3570 or email with your full home street address and she will look up the information for you.

Sample message:
This is ________ and I live in your district. I am calling to urge you to vote NO on Senate Bill 83. This legislation takes away control from local governments and will overturn the living wage ordinances passed by the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission. Especially in a time of economic crisis, the state legislature should not act to lower workers’ wages.

If you email, be sure to include your full home address to show that you live in your senator’s district.