Nixon vetoes bill that would have banned local minimum wage hikes

In an attempt to thwart what he referred to as “unwarranted government intrusion,” Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday vetoed a bill that would have barred cities from setting a minimum wage higher than in state or federal law, and would have prevented cities from banning the use of plastic bags.

“Local voters ought to have the right to decide these issues,” Nixon wrote in his veto message for House Bill 722. “Just as there should be an appropriate allocation of responsibilities between federal and state governments, so too should the precept of local control apply to the relationship between state and local governments. The power grab embodied by House Bill 722 clearly violates that principle.”

Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, offered the minimum wage component of the bill. He argued that decisions on wage or benefit levels should be made by Missouri businesses, rather than local governments, according to a Missourinet report.

The bill won approval from the Missouri House and Senate this spring against the backdrop of demonstrations across the nation — including protests in Kansas City and St. Louis — for better wages and other rights for low-wage workers. Proposals to raise the minimum wage have made progress in recent months in both cities.

Nixon vetoed eight bills on Friday in addition to House Bill 722. He signed seven more bills into law, according to a release from his office.

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