One day after taking control away from municipal governments through a law that limits the amount of fines local communities can levy, Gov. Nixon gives local municipalities the power to override state laws governing Missouri workplaces, ironically citing the importance of local control as his reason for vetoing House Bill 722.
“Out-of-state activist groups who have been unsuccessful in eroding Missouri’s workplace laws in the Missouri Legislature have successfully applied pressure on local Missouri municipalities to take up their causes,” said Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “Missouri has seen a growing, disturbing trend of cities implementing 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,” Mehan said. “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. Having minimum wage levels set at the whim of nearly 1,000 different municipalities is not good policy.”
House Bill 722, sponsored by Rep. Dan Shaul, a Republican from Imperial, would have stopped 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,” Mehan said. “In a recent Gallup survey of 1,000 Missouri CEOs, we found that inconsistency in Missouri laws was holding back growth. Providing predictability in Missouri’s employment laws is part of the Missouri Chamber’s 15-year strategic plan, Missouri 2030.”
The Missouri Chamber believes that certain issues, like workplace mandates, should be determined by the Missouri Legislature, a body designed to set laws based on statewide impact. The Missouri Chamber urges lawmakers to revisit this issue in the upcoming Veto Session.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.