Missouri messes with municipal minimum wage plans

In the waning minutes of its 2017 session, the Missouri General Assembly approved legislation aimed at prohibiting local governments from raising their cities’ minimum wages above the state level, which now stands at $7.70 an hour.

The bill also seeks to void any existing city ordinances that raise the minimum wage.

That throws into doubt the future of a Kansas City minimum wage ordinance — scheduled to go before voters in August — as well as an already-passed St. Louis ordinance, which began a phase-in to $11 an hour on May 5.

If the bill is signed, Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed, who has advocated for a higher minimum wage, predicted the matter will end up in court.

Kansas City attorney Clinton Adams Jr., who represents the petitioners who successfully gathered signatures for the Aug. 8 ballot measure, said that election will go forward no matter what, because the Missouri Supreme Court ordered the petition initiative onto the local ballot earlier this year.

Statehouse observers say an eventual lawsuit is expected to be filed in St. Louis, since workers in that city will be getting higher wages for months before the state law kicks in.

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