Government & Politics

KC Council urges higher local minimum wage

The Associated Press

The Kansas City Council approved a resolution Thursday calling on city government and local businesses to voluntarily implement a higher minimum wage than the state-set minimum.

The resolution follows a local election Aug. 8 in which 69 percent of Kansas City voters supported a petition initiative to raise the city’s minimum wage to $10 an hour by Aug. 24. The measure also calls for annual future increases of $1.25 per hour, beginning Sept. 1, 2019 until it reaches $15 per hour in 2022.

The state Legislature last term approved a law, which takes effect Aug. 28, that prohibits cities from setting their own minimum wage above the state-set minimum of $7.70 per hour.

Advocates for low-wage workers have said they may sue in court, arguing for Kansas City’s right to enforce its own higher minimum wage despite the state preemption.

But the resolution, introduced by City Council member Jermaine Reed, encourages Kansas City businesses to voluntarily comply with the new local measure. It also called on city government to comply. The city now has 21 seasonal and part-time employees who don’t make $10 per hour, but City Manager Troy Schulte said the city will adjust those salaries to meet the new minimum.

The council voted 12-0 in favor of the resolution. Councilwoman Heather Hall was present Thursday but was absent for that vote.

Lynn Horsley: 816-226-2058, @LynnHorsley