Judge rules local governments don't have to follow Mo. wage law

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A Cole County judge rules that a voter-approved minimum wage increase does not apply to local governments.

That ruling comes almost a year after counties, municipalities and fire districts challenged the wage hike because the measure deleted language that allowed fire fighters and police officers to work more than 40 hours a week without overtime. That's necessary because many departments follow federal rules that allow for longer shifts with more days off.

Judge Richard Callahan says the new minimum wage law violates the state constitution in several ways. He says it creates an unfunded mandate from the state, sets the salaries for certain types of counties and uses an initiative petition to spend public money.

Missouri's minimum wage is $6.65 an hour.

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