Kansas City's minimum wage vote could spark legal battle - KCTV5

Kansas City's minimum wage vote could spark legal battle

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Question 3 has passed allowing a bump in Kansas City’s minimum wage to $10 an hour on August 24 and raising it eventually to $15 an hour by 2022. (AP) Question 3 has passed allowing a bump in Kansas City’s minimum wage to $10 an hour on August 24 and raising it eventually to $15 an hour by 2022. (AP)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A legal battle looms as city and state laws on the minimum wage clash.

Voters passed Question 3 Tuesday, allowing a bump in Kansas City’s minimum wage to $10 an hour on August 24. It would eventually raise to $15 an hour by 2022.

However, in just four days, a new state law will shut down Kansas City voters' overwhelming approval to raise the minimum wage. The law says cities cannot increase wages above the state’s minimum.

University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor Allen Rostron says the nation's legal system is set up as a hierarchy - federal over state over local - and that means the state will likely win this battle.

"Assuming that a state enactment is valid, it’s not unconstitutional or anything like that, then it does override what local governments want to do," Rostron said.

But Kansas City leaders won’t give up so easy.

"I think the vote of the people here and the vote of the City Council here illustrates that this is a very important issue for our community. That’s why the next steps will have to be carefully considered with advice from the city attorney to the City Council," city spokesman Chris Hernandez said.

The city isn’t ready to reveal its next steps yet, but here’s what Rostron expects:

"One of two things could happen. Either the city could come up with some kind of legal argument to challenge the state law in court and try to get it struck down, or they have to go about this politically," he said.

Rostron says that likely means putting it to a statewide vote to change state law, and that could take some time.

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.). All rights reserved.

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