- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 1, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state law that blocked Birmingham’s plans to raise the minimum wage.

U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor ruled that plaintiffs had not proven the law was racially discriminatory or had impacted the constitutional rights of Birmingham’s residents.

Birmingham had been poised to become the first Southern city to raise the minimum wage after the Birmingham City Council voted last year to raise the city’s hourly minimum wage to $10.10. But before the increase could be implemented, The Alabama Legislature swiftly passed legislation requiring a uniform state minimum wage. That effectively nullified the city’s ordinance.

Fast food workers, the Alabama Chapter of the NAACP and Greater Birmingham Ministries filed the lawsuit challenging the state law. The complaint alleged, among other grounds, that the legislation was racially motivated because it was pushed by white Republican lawmakers and disproportionately impacted black workers in the majority-black city.

Attorney General Luther Strange praised the decision in favor of the state. He said it was unfair to accuse lawmakers of racism when 16 other states enacted minimum wage laws.

“While my office will continue to defend this law if necessary, I hope this ruling puts an end to any question about its constitutionality,” Strange said.

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