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Missouri mayors come out against HB722 override

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Mayors from different parts of the state formally came out against the veto override effort lawmakers are planning to mount next week for a bill that keeps local governments from raising the minimum wage.

It began as the “bag bill” during the legislative session, and Rep. Dan Shaul, a Republican from Imperial, sponsored it. Shaul’s bill sought to prohibit local municipalities from issuing a ban on plastic bags; something supporters say is a burdensome regulation for small businesses.

But soon the bill was given some controversial amendments, including one that prohibits any city in the state from increasing their minimum wage beyond the state level after August 28 of this year. Democrats, particularly in the senate, howled that the minimum wage amendments went far beyond the scope of the bill. Gov. Jay Nixon subsequently vetoed the bill, citing the removal of “local control” for local government entities on issues like minimum wage.

The passage of the bill prompted supporters of a minimum wage increase in Kansas City and St. Louis to push for an increase locally by the end of summer, something both cities did accomplish.

Along with Mayors Sly James and Francis Slay of Kansas City and St. Louis, mayors of Potosi, Wentzville, Columbia, St. Peters, Florissant, and Grain Valley, as well as St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger all signed a letter addressed to lawmakers today urging them not to seek an override of Nixon’s veto.

“As mayors of cities and towns across Missouri, we are writing to request that you sustain the veto of House Bill No. 722 (HB 722). HB 722 is a misguided bill that interferes with local decisions on worker wages, employee benefit policies, and limits on plastic bags at grocery stores,” the letter reads in part.

In addition to the letter, several local government officials or entities have expressed issue with the legislation on their own. Springfield Mayor Robert Stephens, Blue Springs City Council and Mayor, Kirksville City Council and Mayor, Columbia City Manager, the Missouri Municipal League and the City of Arnold have all expressed opposition to HB722 either through letters to lawmakers or adopted resolutions.

Lawmakers gather in Jefferson City on Sept. 16 to consider overrides to any of Nixon’s vetoes.