Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's recently defeated bill would have raised the miminum wage by $1.10, but would also have banned states from passing laws that require minimum wages for tipped employees. Nathan Newman has thoughts on the wider implications of this kind of legislation:
If Santorum and the GOP can push through a restriction on states' ability to raise standards for tipped workers, the next step could easily be a restriction on states being allowed to have ANY minimum wage higher than the federal level at all.
The City Minimum Wage Precedent: Sound too far-fetched even for rightwing politicians? Well, after a number of cities began enacting city minimum wage laws, about a dozen southern and western states, including Florida, Louisiana and Georgia, passed legislation banning local governments from enforcing local minimum wages higher than the federal minimum wage level. Backed by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, these "minimum wage repeal acts" are the model for the national GOP going further and preempting state minimum wage laws, just as they recently preempted state class action laws and just as they have preemped state health care and environmental regulation.
Clearly such a strategy could have an impact on any state-level efforts to help out citizens affected by pernicious federal legislation (like Check 21).