On May 12, 2017, the Missouri legislature passed a bill banning cities from adopting minimum wage rates higher than the state’s current rate of $7.70/hour. By pushing this bill through the House right before the end of the legislative session, Republican lawmakers sought to reverse St. Louis city’s new $10/hour minimum wage increase, which has been in effect since May 5.
Proponents of the bill see a consistent statewide minimum wage as pertinent to intrastate competition. Challengers say it should be left to local officials who better understand the needs of their residents to decide the appropriate minimum wage. St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said in a statement that she believes the bill to be “a setback for working families” and echoed opponents of the bill saying, “[e]very city and town in our state does not have the same issues, needs or economy.”
St. Louis is not the only city this bill would affect. Kansas City recently passed an ordinance scheduled to take effect Sept. 18, 2017, increasing its minimum wage to $8.50/hour. That ordinance is now on the chopping block. In addition, Kansas City’s plan to include—on a future ballot—a proposed minimum wage increase to $15/hour has been abandoned with news of this bill. Kansas City Mayor Sly James is a proponent of a higher minimum wage, but he expected the Missouri legislature’s move and, instead of championing Kansas City’s minimum wage increase ordinance, he is pushing for a petition to raise the minimum wage through a statewide vote.
For now, St. Louis city’s $10/hour minimum wage is still in effect. If Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signs the new bill within the 45 days allotted to bills passed at the close of a legislative session (by June 26, 2017), it will take effect in August.
We will keep a close eye on the bill’s status and provide updates accordingly.