At the national level, US Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democratic incumbent last week filed a 77-page piece of legislation that is a veritable smorgasbord of the union advocacy issues. Up for reelection in November of this year, Brown appears to be trying to ingratiate himself with all possible factions – including business. Aside from mandating a national minimum wage of $15 an hour and 7 days paid sick leave per year, Brown would mandate overtime to all executive, administrative and professionals earning less than $47,476 and establish at least 12 weeks paid family leave through a national paid leave fund! Further, he calls for cracking down on wage theft and requiring employers to reimburse the government when employees rely on federal assistance programs!!! But, he’s anxious to help businesses too – he promises companies a tax break for staying in the US, hiring in the US and providing good wages and benefits! The Labor Committee in the Baltimore City Council has given approval to a $15 minimum wage compromise bill that has been under consideration for over a year. The final compromise within the committee mandates $15 an hour by 2022, but exempts employees under 21 years of age and grants employers with fewer than 50 workers an additional three years (until 2026) before they must comply. A final vote on the compromise legislation could come as early as March 20. The current wage in Maryland is $8.75 but scheduled to increase to $10.10 in 2018. Elsewhere on the minimum wage front, fast food workers and their back in Birmingham Alabama have appealed a lower court decision upholding an Alabama law that preempts local communities from establishing their own minimum wages. Birmingham mandated a $10.10 an hour minimum last April, only to have the state immediately pass a state preemption. The challenge also claimed the preemption violated worker’s civil rights and was “tainted with racial animus” because it was approved by white suburban Republican legislators. The state senate over in New Mexico gave initial approval to a statewide increase in the minimum wage to $9 per hour and the establishment of an $8 per hour training wage. The current minimum in New Mexico is $7.50. More catch-all legislation with little chance of passage was filed by democrats in the republican- controlled legislature in North Carolina. The Economic Security Act of 2017 contains a plethora of employee-friendly mandates including a hike in the minimum wage to $15 by 2021, mandatory paid sick leave, mandated equal pay for women, a return of the earned income tax credit and ban the box. There is little chance that many of the provisions will become law anytime soon. And lastly on the subject of minimum wages, the Arizona state Supreme Court held a hearing yesterday on a challenge to the most recent minimum wage increase. Last year, voters passed a measure to raise the state hourly minimum to $12 by 2020, up from $8.05. Under the measure, the minimum increased to $10 in January, but the plaintiffs contend the new minimum mandate violates state constitutional requirements that a ballot measure that has a cost for the state must identify a funding source, something the voter approved measure lacks.