A ruling in St. Louis Circuit Court late Wednesday afternoon struck down an ordinance that would have increased the minimum wage in the City of St. Louis, in stages, to $11 an hour by the beginning of 2018. In the ruling, Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer declared the City’s ordinance to be “unenforceable and in conflict” with state law. The judgement was handed down shortly before the first scheduled increase in the wage floor on October 15.
The lawsuit, heard on October 6, was brought by a consortium of business groups and businesses who maintained the city lacked the authority under its charter to enact a wage floor in excess of that required by state law.
The St. Louis conclusion has the same result as a Jackson County Circuit Court ruling on September 22. There, Judge Justine Del Muro declared a citywide wage mandate passed by the KC City Council this summer is “inconsistent with state statutes and is therefore unconstitutional, on its face.”
In a July letter to leaders in St. Louis and Kansas City, a group of business associations expressed its position that “state law clearly sets the minimum wage on a statewide basis, and no local government, including a charter city, has any authority to enact a minimum wage in their locality.”
MRA’s participation in the lawsuit reflects its belief that the establishment of any minimum wage is a matter clearly reserved for state law and, further, that in order for Missouri to attract and retain job opportunities for its citizens, our state needs one consistent standard for wages and benefits – not a confusing patchwork of many different local laws.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay indicated the City will appeal the circuit court decision.