Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has backed off on signing a controversial bill that outlaws the state's municipalities from setting their own internal minimum wage floors.
Rather, the bill will sit until August 28, the date when the bill will automatically go into law without Greiten's signature. This could result in a drawback of city minimum wages back to the state minimum of $7.70 per hour.
In cities like St. Louis that have high minimum wages already, this law could affect low-level workers's wages drastically. St. Louis City Council recently passed an ordinance that instills a $11 minimum wage floor citywide, to take effect in January 2018. Currently, St. Louis workers make $10 per hour.
Upon his decision not to sign the bill and let the automatic approval take place, Greitens said that the law is needed, especially in places like St. Louis.
“Our state needs more private sector paychecks and bigger private sector paychecks,” Greitens said in a statement on the bill via New York Daily News. “Politicians in St. Louis passed a bill that fails on both counts: it will kill jobs, and despite what you hear from liberals, it will take money out of people's pockets.”
Naturally, the move sparked a major outcry among advocacy groups for higher wages like "Fight for $15." The organization called the governor's move "disgusting," according to the same Daily News report.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that several lawmakers viewed the governor's move as a threat to the working poor.
Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) said that, “Signing it would have shown the fact that he is heartless and that he really doesn’t care about the working poor... So what he didn’t want to do is sign a bill to take money out of the pockets of those who already have an increase, but still do so.”
The state legislature is controlled by Republicans, who see the potential adverse effects a minimum wage hike could have on the business community and on the workers of the state.
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