Jefferson City – State Rep. Michael Butler (D-St. Louis) has pre-filed legislation that would raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.65 an hour to $15 an hour statewide.
Butler said in a statement the state’s current minimum wage has trapped too many Missourians in poverty.
“No one in Missouri should work a full-time job and still be living in poverty. Our core objective as leaders of this state is to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Missouri. I can think of no better way to do that than to increase the minimum wage.
“Thousands of Missourians are suffering from, not a lack of work, but from a lack of livable wages,” Butler added. “We can do something to help that, and we will.”
The City of St. Louis on Aug. 28 approved an ordinance that would have created a city minimum wage of $8.25 per hour in October, rising incrementally to $11 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018. However, the legislature overrode the governor’s veto of a bill that prohibits communities from setting minimum wage, and a St. Louis Circuit Court judge invalidated the ordinance Oct. 14, saying it conflicted with state law.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s office said it would appeal.
Missouri Jobs with Justice (JwJ) is attempting to put a minimum wage increase on the statewide ballot. Its proposal would increase the minimum wage to $9 per hour, with a $1 per hour increase each year until 2023, when the minimum wage would be $15 per hour.
In order to get on the November 2016 ballot, JwJ must collect signatures from registered voters equal to five percent of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor’s election from six of the state’s congressional districts.
A LIVING WAGE
“Missouri has some of the most productive workers in the country,” Butler said. “If the minimum wage had kept up with worker productivity, it would be over $21 an hour. It is time to end the confusion on this issue by raising the state’s minimum wage to a living wage for all Missourians.”
The 2016 legislative session begins Jan. 6.