Some good news for the workers of Missouri came last wekk when a judge upheld a minimum wage ballot initiative. The group responsible for pushing the measure, Jobs with Justice, announced that they have enough signatures to get the issue on the November ballot. It aims to raise Missouri’s minimum wage to $8.25 an hour beginning in 2013 with an annual cost-of-living adjustment in subsequent years.
“We think it’s good news. We’re one step closer to making sure that the will of Missouri voters is being respected and we all get a chance to vote on this,” said Lara Granich, director of Missouri Jobs with Justice, which is backing the initiative.
The responsible auditor of the matter has found that the initiative will cost state and local governments $1 million in additional annual wages, but will bring in an estimated $14.4 million in additional tax revenue.
History is on Jobs with Juctice‘s side as they won a similar victory in 2006:
The same group backing this year’s minimum wage initiative also supported a successful 2006 ballot measure that raised Missouri’s minimum wage to $6.50 an hour with an annual cost-of-living adjustment. That measure included a provision requiring Missouri to abide by the federal minimum wage, if it was higher than the state minimum. Consequently, Missouri is currently following the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
If approved by voters, the new measure would raise Missouri’s minimum wage to $8.25 an hour beginning in 2013 with an annual cost-of-living adjustment in subsequent years. The measure says that if the federal wage rises above Missouri’s, then Missouri would adopt the federal wage and begin applying the cost-of-living adjustment to that.
“Those nickels and dimes that a cost-of-living adjustment gives working people” allows them to “keep buying as many gallons of milk and as many gallons of gas for your car as you could last year,” Granich said.
Yet, not all the news was good news in Missouri last week. The Missouri House passed a scaled down version of a bill that Governor Jay Nixon recommended, one which would have protected whistleblowers from retaliation in the workplace. The bill will have to pass the House a second time before it can reach the Senate:
In an 85-67 vote Wednesday, the House gave initial approval to a measure limiting “whistleblower” status to employees who report or refuse to carry out illegal acts. The bill also caps punitive damages at $300,000 for anyone who sues for being fired after acting as a whistleblower.