A tiff over tips sinks a bill seeking to modify Missouri’s minimum wage law.
This one wasn’t even close.
The House soundly rejects a bill that would drop the minimum wage for waiters, waitresses, and all those living off tips, from $3.50 an hour to $2.13 an hour. The provision was attached to HB 1851 , which sought to align the state minimum wage law with federal standards.
Rep. Paul LeVota (D-Independence) tells colleagues of eating breakfast at a restaurant prior to coming to the Capitol.
"We asked the waitress, ‘What would you think of cutting the per hour minimum wage?’ and she said that that would really hurt her."
Supporters dismiss such talk. They say the tips will more than make up for the loss. They also point to a provision that would ensure that those earning tips couldn’t make less that $6.65 an hour, 15 cents higher than the state minimum wage of $6.50 an hour. Supporters add that small restaurants and cafes are being hurt by the $3.50 rate, causing them to lay off cooks, busboys and the like.
Rep. Gina Walsh (D-St. Louis) criticizes backers for toying with a $6.50 minimum wage approved by voters at the polls in 2006, "Let’s let the will of the people rule in this building for once."
Such sentiment prevails. The bill can only attract 68 votes, with 82 representatives voting against it.