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Nixon vetoes bill that would have stopped patchwork of local ordinances

July 10, 2015

Today, Governor Jay Nixon vetoed House Bill 722, a bill that would have protected businesses from a patchwork of local ordinances regarding employee wages and benefits, and ordinances banning plastic bags.

“Although other state statutes already protect Missouri employers from local governments enacting ordinances on minimum wage, the governor’s action today leaves employers across the state in limbo and subject to the will of local governments on other important areas of law, including whether employers can perform criminal background record checks before offering employment,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “This reckless veto of a reasonable bill passed by our legislature is exactly why voters authorized the legislature to override a governor’s veto.”

The City of Columbia recently enacted a local ordinance prohibiting private sector employers from inquiring about criminal backgrounds of potential employees until after an employment offer has been made.  “Such ordinances place greater value on the ability of a convicted felon to get a job than providing a safe workplace for all employees,” said McCarty. “This is an excellent example of an area where state law should override local ordinances which are often passed with very little publicity at the local level.”

Missouri law already prohibits local governments from enacting a minimum wage higher than the state minimum wage. “Kansas City and St. Louis local governments have been pushing recently to enact local ordinances on minimum wage, but they have no power to override a state statute that clearly allows employers the ability to pay the state minimum wage of $7.65 per hour,” said McCarty.

Associated Industries of Missouri and a broad coalition of employer groups are sending letters to the Mayors of Kansas City and St. Louis reminding them of the state statute and the inability of those local governments to enact higher minimum wage rates than those in state statute.

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