House passes minimum wage bill

Monday, March 7, 2011

A measure to eliminate Missouri's automatic minimum wage escalator was approved last week by the House of Representatives, in an effort to keep the state's minimum wage from exceeding its federal counterpart.

This is one of six areas outlined in the Fix the Six campaign where the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the state can improve in order to attract and assist businesses. The Fix the Six campaign launched in January. House Bill 61, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nolte, R-Gladstone, passed out of the House with a 96-61 vote. Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, has filed a similar bill. A hearing on Crowell's bill was held last month, but it hasn't yet come up for debate on the Senate floor.

Currently, the federal minimum wage is the same as Missouri, $7.25 per hour. Since a 2006 ballot proposition was approved by voters, Missouri's minimum wage automatically adjusts for cost of living increases as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Of Missouri's neighboring states, only Illinois has a higher minimum wage than the federal minimum wage, at $8.25 per hour.

* LaCroix Market to open in May: A new shopping center is now under construction by The Rhodes Group near the intersection of Lexington Avenue and Kingsway Drive. LaCroix Market, 1720 Kingsway Drive, will include six suites ranging in size from 1,000 to 3,745 square-feet. The building is scheduled to be completed in May, said developer Scott Rhodes.

* Liquor licenses: The Cape Girardeau City Council will review liquor license applications for the following businesses at its meeting tonight: La Torita, LLC, d/b/a El Torito, 1740 Broadway, retail liquor-by-the-drink and Sunday sales; Cafe Soupe Inc., 2502 Tanner Drive, Suite 200, retail liquor-by-the-drink and Sunday sales; and Shah Mari, LLC, d/b/a Cape Mart, 238 N. Fountain St., original-package liquor and Sunday sales.

* Steering committee chosen: Fourteen physicians have been appointed to a steering committee charged with developing a strategic plan and providing initial governance structure for Saint Francis Medical Center's more than 100 medical partners. Physicians in attendance at the annual Saint Francis Medical Partners retreat in January expressed their support of the initial steering committee and its goals, said Saint Francis Medical Center President and Chief Executive Officer Steven C. Bjelich, who made the appointments. This group will drive quality within the Medical Center-based group practice, provide input on recruitment and retention strategies, provide input on financial and operations, and provide governance and assistance in the development of an accountable care organization. Of the 14 members, five are primary care physicians, seven are specialists and two are hospital-based physicians. Steering committee members include: Dr. Michael R. Freeman, gastroenterologist, chairman; Dr. Edward M. Bender, cardiothoracic surgeon; Dr. Deborah D. Price, internal medicine physician; Dr. Andrew Godbey, neurologist; Dr. William J. Fritsch Jr., hospitalist; Dr. M. Kevin Hammond, emergency medicine physician, Dr. Joy LeDoux-Johnson, internal medicine physician/pediatrician; Dr. Mark A. Meadors, medical oncologist/hematologist; Dr. Philip E. Tippen, internal medicine physician; Dr. Phenu Zachariah, endocrinologist; Dr. Kennett D. Asher, family practice physician; Dr. Heather K. Dodson, pediatrician; Dr. Wendi M. Carns, obstetrician/gynecologist; and Dr. Eric Nelson, anesthesiologist. Saint Francis Medical Center has created partnerships with physician practices in an effort to meet the health care needs of residents throughout the five-state region it serves.

Southeast Missourian business reporter Melissa Miller may be contacted at 388-3646 or

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