A proposed fix to a flaw in the minimum wage law approved by voters in November failed to make it through the legislature this year. House leadership decided if it couldn’t get its way, it would let the measure die.
City officials, in particular, begged the legislature to correct an oversight in that the law didn’t address firefighters, police officers and others who regularly work long shifts. Officials say that if the flaw isn’t fixed, they might have to lay off public safety workers, because they can’t afford the overtime.
Rep. Scott Muschany (R-St. Louis) brought his bill to the floor on the last day of the session, but it contained more than the fix sought by city officials. The House committee substitute for SB 255 contained two other provisions. One would eliminate the clause that indexes the minimum wage to increases in the cost-of-living. The other would exempt workers who live off tips, such as waitresses, from the law.
Muschany objected when Rep. Nathan Cooper (R-Cape Girardeau) sponsored an amendment that would narrow his bill to addressing only public safety workers. Cooper stated that any changes that sweeping should not be handled by the General Assembly, but should be placed before voters. Muschany, fearing that the amendment would pass, withdrew his bill and left the chamber.
House Speaker Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill) allowed Muschany to withdraw his bill, even though Cooper had the floor. Another representative objected and questioned Jetton’s ruling, arguing that the amendment had to be addressed first. Jetton replied that the sponsor of a bill could withdraw his measure at any time.