JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP/KMOX) – The city of St. Louis can proceed with a minimum wage increase after the Missouri Supreme Court struck down a state wage law on procedural grounds.
The ruling Tuesday says a 1998 law prohibiting some cities from creating their own minimum wages is unconstitutional because it was passed as part of a bill with a different subject matter.
The decision effectively reinstates a 2015 St. Louis ordinance that sought to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour in 2017 and $11 an hour by 2018.
Missouri’s minimum wage currently is $7.70 an hour.
Workers gathered to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision. They stood on the steps of the rotunda holding signs that said “We win!”
Betty Douglas is a McDonalds employee who’s been a mainstay at local minimum wage protests.
“$20 more a day. A $100 more a week and $200 a pay period,” Douglas says. “Do you know what I can do with this?”
One of those celebrating with the rest was actually a business owner who will be paying the higher wage – Pierce Powers with Lona’s Lil Eats on California in south city.
“It’s not just the local businesses that are going to pay more, it’s the big box doors that don’t even pay taxes to the state of Missouri – who are also going to pay more” Powers says. “That will be more people that have the ability to come in our doors, and enjoy a locally cooked meal.”
Powers said he wanted to tell his fellow business owners in the city to remain calm because the higher wage is a win-win for all involved.
Tuesday’s ruling doesn’t affect other cities. That’s because a separate state law bars local minimum wages that weren’t already in place by Aug. 28, 2015 the date the St. Louis ordinance took effect.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)