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GOP state lawmakers move to halt local minimum wages

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

The minimum wage in St. Louis was offficially rolled back from $10 an hour to $7.70, the statewide minimum on Monday. The law that did that, passed in May, is part of a broader trend of GOP state lawmakers pushing legislation that pre-empts local governments from setting their labor law regulations.

Since the start of 2016, 15 states have passed 27 laws pre-empting local labor standards, according a study released Monday by the liberal Economic Policy Institute.

That is thanks to the GOP’s strong advantage in statehouses across the country. Currently, the GOP controls 33 governorships and 67 of the 98 partisan legislative chambers. In 24 states, Republicans control the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers.

“[C]onservative state legislatures are now using pre-emption to eliminate the authority of a lower level of government to regulate a certain issue. In practice, these laws are being used to strip authority from local governments who seek to increase protections for workers; the laws do so by prohibiting these local governments from increasing their labor/employment standards above the state floor,” said Marni von Wilpert, EPI’s associate labor counsel.

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