Republicans love to tout “local control,” “states’ rights,” and “smaller government.”
You’ve heard the talking points:
“Let the states decide their own gun control laws.”
“The federal government is not in the education business.”
“It’s not the government’s job to provide for the poor. Let the churches do it.”
The list goes on.
But when St. Louis, Missouri raised its minimum wage to $10 per hour, Republicans saw it as a bridge too far.
Missouri Republicans passed a law recently prohibiting counties and cities from creating their own minimum wage laws.
And it doesn’t stop there. The new legislation actually decreases the minimum wage to $7.70–lower than it was before it was raised.
Missouri isn’t an outlier.
In March, Iowa Republicans overrode local municipalities’ mandatory pay increases.
According to the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit group supporting higher minimum wage laws, this was the first time a law of this type was ever passed.
Those who advocate lower minimum wage laws are not averse to using the courts.
Kentucky’s Supreme Court in October overturned a 2014 Louisville ordinance to raise the city’s minimum wage to $9 an hour. The court decided in a 6-1 ruling that the local law violated the state constitution.
Maine is another state that has had success rolling back local minimum wage laws, underscoring a frequent debate in the minimum wage issue over whether or not employees who receive gratuities should receive the same minimum wage as those who do not.
Federal law requires employers to supplement workers’s pay if those workers do not earn enough in tips to attain minimum wage. The federal minimum wage for non-tipped employees is $7.25 per hour, and Congress has not granted an increase since 2007.
Maine’s measure passed its House of Representatives 100 to 37, and Senate 23 to 12, going into effect January 2018. Tipped employees would then begin earning the prior state minimum, $3.75 per hour.
President Donald Trump appeared to support raising minimum wage to $10 an hour while still a candidate for the presidency. No surprise, though, he has said and done nothing about it.
Featured image from The Odyssey Online.