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Nov 15 – Weekly Capitol Update

| November 15, 2012

 SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS FIREFIGHTER RESIDENCY LAW

The Missouri Supreme Court on Nov 13 unanimously upheld the constitutionality of a 2010 state law that allows veteran St. Louis city firefighters to live elsewhere, despite a provision a of the city charter that requires most municipal employees to reside within the city limits. The law at issue was passed at the behest of St. Louis firefighters and allows employees of any fire department to live outside the department’s jurisdiction if the employee has worked for the department for at least seven years and if the local school district is or has been unaccredited or provisionally unaccredited.

The 6-0 decision reversed Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem’s earlier ruling that the law unconstitutionally violated the city’s right to “home rule” under the Missouri Constitution, as well as the equal protection clauses of the state and federal constitutions. In an opinion written by Judge Laura Denvir Stith, the Supreme Court said Beetem erred in determining that the state constitution grants charter cities broad freedom from legislative control and further erred in finding equal protection violations.

The high court, however, did uphold a portion of Beetem’s ruling that found the statute wasn’t an unconstitutional “special law” that applied only to one jurisdiction without adequate cause, since the statute applies any fire department that has a residency requirement and shares jurisdiction with an unaccredited or provisionally accredited school district and not just the St. Louis department.

STATE MINIMUM WAGE TO INCREASE 10 CENTS AN HOUR

As of Jan. 1, Missouri’s standard minimum wage will increase from $7.25 an hour to $7.35 an hour, the Missouri Department of Labor announced on Nov. 9. Under a state law approved by Missouri voters in 2006, the state minimum wage is adjusted annually for inflation. The upcoming hike reflects a 1.3 percent inflationary adjustment.

If the federal minimum wage is higher than what the state minimum would otherwise be, Missouri follows the federal rate. The pending 10-cent increase will mark the first time the state minimum wage in Missouri has been the higher of the two since July 2009 when the current federal rate was set at $7.25 an hour and superseded the state’s rate, which at the time had been $7.10 an hour.

 

Category: Weekly Capitol Update

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