BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Alabama passed a bill on Thursday barring cities and towns from setting their own minimum wage.
Gov. Robert Bentley signed the bill, which also prevents cities from requiring employers to provide leave and other benefits, just days after Birmingham raised its minimum wage to $10.10. The new law applies retroactively and will reverse Birmingham's new minimum wage.
The state does not have it's own minimum wage, so it uses the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
The bill was fast-tracked by state Republicans, who argued it is important for Alabama to maintain a uniform minimum wage. Republican state Sen. Jabo Waggoner who promised raising minimum wage would cause employment to "go downhill."
"We want businesses to expand and create more jobs – not cut entry-level jobs because of a patchwork of local minimum wages causes operating costs to rise. Our actions today will create predictability and consistency for Alabama's economy, which benefits everyone," he said, according to Fox News.
Democratic state Sen. Linda Coleman-Madison criticized the bill, saying the legislation contributes to the state's poverty issues.
"Alabama is a poor state. But I say we are poor by choice, because of bills like this that keep people poor," she said.
Coleman-Madison has proposed her own bill to raise the minimum wage to $10 across the state.