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Petition Group Blocks Implementation Of New Kansas City Minimum Wage

Caroline Kull
In recent months, many minimum wage earners in Kansas City have participated in demonstrations in support of raising the minimum wage.

A group opposing the new Kansas City, Missouri minimum wage ordinance have effectively blocked its implementation. 

Opponents of a higher minimum wage have filed only 100 of the 3400 signatures they need to send the repeal measure to the voters, but Caitlin Adams of Jobs With Justice believes there's more to the strategy than just getting it on the ballot.

“What this does is delay enforcement and implementation of the bill. It means it holds up a whole lot of Kansas City folks getting a raise until this gets figured out,” said Adams.

The first phase of the higher local minimum was scheduled to go into effect August 24. But the petitioning group has until a day after that to file the required number of valid voter signatures. 

Adams says Aug. 20 is the cutoff date to get measures on the November ballot.

She says that means if the opponents get the required signatures and hold off filing them until after Aug. 20, it would that would block the implementation until a spring election, also allowing the opposing group to organize other efforts.

Such alternatives might include getting the Missouri Legislature to overrule the local minimum wage or to organize a court battle.

Jobs With Justice worked with other groups to build momentum for the local minimum wage and the subsequent compromise that the Kansas City council passed on a 12-1 vote. 

The original proposal called for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. The version that the council passed would raise it from $7.65 to $8.50 on August 24 and ultimately to $13 an hour by 2020.

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