There is a growing trend in Missouri where cities are trying to implement their own employment laws. Proposals across the state would increase the minimum wage, mandate sick leave and make it harder for employers to perform criminal background checks during the hiring process. There are also efforts to ban plastic shopping bags.
For Missouri employers, this is a troubling situation. Regardless of the intentions behind these efforts, they threaten to create an increasingly complex patchwork of rules and regulations, making it more difficult to do business in Missouri.
A bill approved Missouri Senate would address this problem, ensuring these issues are addressed at a statewide level. On May 5, the Missouri Senate voted 24-10 to pass House Bill 722, sponsored by Rep. Dan Shaul, a Republican from Imperial. As passed by the Senate, the bill would stop cities from increasing the minimum wage, mandating a certain amount to sick leave and banning plastic or reusable shopping bags.
“This is a major issue for Missouri’s business community. We need consistent workplace standards in our state,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “If we don’t act this year, we are leaving the door open for every city in the state to impose their own regulations on employers. This would dramatically increase the bureaucracy facing businesses and would harm our work to bring jobs to Missouri.”
The current version of the bill does not address efforts to pass municipal laws relating to “ban the box” criminal background checks.
The bill now goes back to the House, where representatives will decide whether to accept the Senate’s changes or to go to a conference committee to seek a compromise bill. In addition to Rep. Shaul’s House Bill 722, similar provisions are included in House Bill 865, sponsored by Rep. Caleb Rowden, a Republican from Columbia; and Senate Bill 455, sponsored by Sen. Mike Kehoe, a Republican from Jefferson City.