City minimum wage law is no more

File photo.

File photo.

The city council on Thursday repealed a law that would have raised the minimum wage in the city, saying it had no choice.

State laws and a recent court ruling made it clear cities cannot raise the wage above the state level of $7.65 an hour, Mayor Sly James said.

The city voted to raise it to $13 an hour by 2020.  City attorneys had said the city could not raise it under state law but believed a new state law could allow it if done by Aug. 28.

But St. Louis enacted a new higher minimum wage law before that and a judge ruled last week that a former state law forbid that increase, James said.

“Everything we have tried to do is met with a legal reality saying we cannot do it,” James said. “We cannot consistently ignore state law when we are trying to do the right thing.”

To do so, he said, invites rural state legislators to stomp even harder on cities they do not begin to understand.

“The states don’t like to be controlled by the federal government, he said, … but they turn right around and control us like they’re our federal government.”

The city also passed a resolution urging the Missouri General Assembly to raise the statewide minimum wage.

The resolution also states that the city will revisit the issue if a state appeals court finds that state laws do not prevent cities from raising minimum wages.

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