Kansas City to vote on minimum wage hike despite conflicting state law

Kansas City residents will vote Tuesday on a proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 by 2022, even though the measure faces big legal questions.

The proposed wage hike, which landed on the ballot thanks to an initiative petition, would be preempted by a new state law.

Last month, Gov. Eric Greitens allowed a bill to become law that bars cities from setting their minimum wage higher than the state’s wage floor, which is currently $7.70.

The text on Kansas City’s sample ballot reads: “Shall the City of Kansas City enact now a municipal minimum wage of $10.00 per hour on August 24, 2017, and increased annually by $1.25 per hour beginning September 1, 2019, to reach $15.00 per hour in 2022?”

A long, complicated path

Tuesday’s election is just the latest in a series of twists and turns related to the minimum wage in Missouri since early 2015. The timeline below offers a more detailed account of major developments around state and municipal wage floors.

Other efforts this year

In March of this year, the Kansas City Council voted to raise the city’s minimum wage to $8.50 by Sept. 18. That also faces an uncertain future.

While some believe Tuesday’s vote is pointless in the face of the new state legislation, some experts say a court case on the issue is likely.

St. Louis has already seen a higher minimum wage measure it passed be superseded by state law. The city’s minimum wage of, initially approved in 2015 and currently being paid to workers, will be set back to $7.70 on Aug. 28.

Despite that, more than 100 St. Louis businesses will continue to pay their employees at least $10 an hour.


Update: Aug. 8 at 3:30 p.m.

This story was updated to include the interactive timeline and a brief introduction to it. 

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