BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Birmingham's law department says the city's minimum wage ordinance is now void, after Governor Robert Bentley signed the Uniform Minimum Wage and Right-to-Work Act.
Earlier this week, Birmingham City Council passed an ordinance speeding up the implementation of its $10.10 minimum wage. It was slated to go into effect Sunday, after being published in the newspaper.
The Alabama Senate had a bill to block it on the fast track. It had its first reading Tuesday, went to committee Wednesday and had its final reading and vote Thursday.
The governor's signature came about an hour after the Senate passed the measure.
The vote was 23 to 11, after nearly four hours of debate.
The measure requires uniform minimum wage state-wide, blocking cities from each setting their own.
"I think it would create chaos in this state with various municipalities with their own minimum wage," said Sen. Jabo Waggoner (R- Vestavia Hills). "Right now, it's just Birmingham. But next week it could be Huntsville or Mobile."
Waggoner pushed the bill in the Senate. Rep. David Faulkner (R- Mountain Brook) sponsored the bill in the House.
Republicans centered their debate on being business friendly and protecting jobs.
"I've heard from the restaurants association, the fast food association, the cleaners, multiple number of groups have called me" Waggoner told ABC 33/40.
Democrats spent hours at the podium, saying this hurts the working poor, and takes power away from cities.
Senator Bobby Singleton took to the podium with Alabama's constitution in hand, pointing to the power of local governments.
"Now what we're saying to one level of government, from the big 800 pound gorilla that's in the room, that you cannot eat your bananas in your own jungle," said Singleton. "We don't want you eating your bananas in your own jungle which you have grown yourself."
Jefferson County Democrat Senators Roger Smitherman and Linda Coleman-Madison also each spent about an hour at the podium fighting for what they consider a living wage.
"Since those who voted in favor of the bill are opposed to municipalities proposing their' own ordinances, I am sponsoring Senate Bill 185, which will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 throughout the entire state, providing all Alabamians a decent working wage," said Coleman- Madison.