Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bill Blocking St. Louis Minimum Wage Hike Is Sent to Greitens

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bill Blocking St. Louis Minimum Wage Hike Is Sent to Greitens

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * A long-awaited $10 minimum wage in St. Louis may prove short-lived, as Missouri lawmakers on Friday sent a bill banning local minimum wages to the governor with minutes left to spare in the legislative session.

But not before Senate Democrats put up a fight, with a lengthy filibuster earlier in the week and a wide-ranging series of procedural moves Friday in a futile attempt to block a vote on the bill.

They managed to stall its final passage for more than two hours but couldn't prevent final passage.

"We're not going to follow the rules if you don't follow the rules," Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, told Republicans on the floor. Nasheed has been a vocal opponent of the legislation, arguing that cities have the right to determine a living wage for their residents.

The increase took effect in St. Louis last week, marking what low-wage workers had hoped was the end of a two-year legal fight with business groups that had challenged the city ordinance.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson released a statement calling the passage "a setback for working families" and vowing to "work with others to get an increase in the (statewide) minimum wage on the ballot since our state Legislature won't address it."

"Every city and town in our state does not have the same issues, needs or economy. A big city frequently has different problems than a very small one," she said in the statement.

Under that city ordinance, the wage was set to rise again in January 2018 to $11 an hour, then increase annually with inflation.

A jarring change may be ahead for workers and businesses who may revert back to the state minimum wage of $7.70 an hour.

It's a situation the Missouri House had hoped to avoid by fast-tracking its version to the Senate in March in the hopes it could be signed into law before the injunction on the increase was lifted in St. Louis. But the Senate didn't take up the bill until the session's final days.

Republicans contend the measure is necessary for the sake of consistency, saying a patchwork of different minimum wage laws throughout the state would be burdensome to Missouri businesses. …

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