The Missouri Legislature passed legislation—House Bills 1193 and 1994—that will soon prohibit municipalities from having a higher minimum wage than that set by the state, but Kansas City is moving forward with a vote about whether to raise the city’s minimum wage anyway.
Earlier this month, Kansas City voters weighed in on Question No. 3: “Shall the City of Kansas City enact now a municipal minimum wage of $10 per hour on August 24, 2017, and increased annually by $1.25 per hour beginning September 1, 2019, to reach $15 per hour in 2022?” At this writing, we didn’t have the results of that vote.
While the ban on local minimum wages hasn’t gone into effect yet—it will do so on Aug. 28—once it does, it will roll back St. Louis’ $10 minimum wage to the statewide rate of $7.70. Kansas City minimum wage increase advocates decided to move forward because they are looking into legal responses to the state ban and in the meantime, they hope voter approval will help pave the way for widespread support for a statewide ballot measure. For a statewide referendum to appear on the ballot, proponents would need to obtain signatures from 5 percent of the registered voters in two-thirds of the state’s voting districts.
Additionally, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the initiative petition must be presented to voters before the Court would rule on the legality of the ordinance. So, if voters approve the measure, another legal challenge will resolve the conflict between the city’s ordinance and the new state law.