The Restaurant Law Center was tracking the legal challenge to the minimum wage mandates in Kansas City and St. Louis. The Association was funding the litigation in the St. Louis challenge, but was not a party to the litigation in either case. The lower courts found that the cities were preempted from having their own minimum wages and the issue went before the Missouri Supreme Court. The Missouri Supreme Court heard oral arguments on October 6, 2016, and ruled on the Kansas City challenge on January 17 and on February 28 on the St. Louis case.
In the Kansas City case, the Missouri Supreme Court held that “proper course is to wait and see if this proposal is enacted (by voters) before considering challenges to an ordinance’s substance or effect. If the voters approve the proposal, a party with proper standing can then sue to enjoin its operation on the ground that the ordinance is invalid.” In the St. Louis case, the Missouri Supreme Court invalidated part of Missouri’s minimum wage law and found no state preemption.
The cases were closed, but lawmakers moved quickly to implement a fix that provides a consistent wage in municipalities throughout the state. The new law went into effect August 28, 2017, preempting municipalities from passing or enforcing wage, leave, or scheduling ordinances different from the state standard.