Government & Politics

Missouri Supreme Court will take up Kansas City minimum wage issue

The appeal argues that there were problems with the General Assembly’s drafting of a Missouri law and with a previous state law that also limited local control over the setting of the minimum wage.
The appeal argues that there were problems with the General Assembly’s drafting of a Missouri law and with a previous state law that also limited local control over the setting of the minimum wage. rsugg@kcstar.com

The Missouri Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments Oct. 6 in a case involving Kansas City’s minimum wage.

The appeal stems from a judge’s ruling in 2015 that removed a Kansas City ballot measure seeking to boost the base wage locally.

Jackson County Presiding Circuit Judge Justine Del Muro ruled in September 2015 that a petition initiative seeking voter approval to raise Kansas City’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020 should not be on the November 2015 ballot.

She said a new Missouri law clearly prohibited Kansas City from adopting a higher minimum wage than the state-set minimum of $7.65 per hour. That state law, forbidding local control on minimum wages, was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon, but the General Assembly overrode that veto in September 2015.

The appeal argues that there were problems with the General Assembly’s drafting of that Missouri law and with a previous state law that also limited local control over the setting of the minimum wage.

“There’s real questions about the way they (legislators) did it,” said attorney Taylor Fields, representing the backers of the petition initiative for a higher minimum wage.

Fields said the Supreme Court will also hear arguments Oct. 6 in a case involving a St. Louis minimum wage ordinance.

In Kansas City, the city attorney’s office had argued before Del Muro that the petition initiative shouldn’t go on the November 2015 ballot because of the constraints of the new state law. But the Kansas City Council had supported a higher minimum wage and had wanted to put the measure to voters before the General Assembly overrode the governor’s veto.

Lynn Horsley: 816-226-2058, @LynnHorsley

  Comments