Commission fails to pass wage theft ordinance - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Commission fails to pass wage theft ordinance

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

He has virtually waged a one-man crusade, but Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy knew the votes weren't there for passage of a proposed plan to protect workers from wage theft.

He was right.

The ordinance failed to garner enough votes for passage Monday afternoon.

MORE: Wage theft ordinance supporters face opposition

It would have allowed county workers to file complaints if they felt they had been short-changed on wages or were being underpaid by employers.

Commissioner Mulroy ran into strong opposition from local business owners who argued the ordinance would only lead to unnecessary costs for litigation of the complaints.

Despite the commissioner's attempt to rework the language of the ordinance, Republican commissioners stood solidly against its passage.

"I think there's a certain element of the county commission that has sort of a knee-jerk reflexive opposition to anything remotely that looks like regulation of business," he said. "Even if the regulation is benign, innocuous and not burdensome, and even if the problem it's designed to address has been, demonstrated to be real and dire."

Adding to Commissioner Mulroy's disappointment is knowing  a similar ordinance appears to be on track for passage in the Memphis City Council. Memphis' ordinance, if passed, will only apply to workers and businesses in the city.

A final reading in Memphis council could take place in the next week.

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