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Tue Apr 15, 2014, 07:33 PM

Minnesota marches forward while Oklahoma falls back - [View all]

At a time when many states and cities are working passing minimum wage increases, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) has gone in the opposite direction and signed a law banning cities from passing higher wages. The bill also bans them from enacting paid sick days or vacation requirements.

The law will stymie the efforts of activists in Oklahoma City, where a labor federation has led the push on a petition to raise the city’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The state’s current minimum has been set at the federal level of $7.25. In 2012, 64,000 workers in the state earned $7.25 an hour or less, making up 7.2 percent of all hourly workers, a larger share than the 4.7 percent figure for the country as a whole.

Fallin said she signed the bill out of the worry that higher local minimum wages “would drive businesses to other communities and states, and would raise prices for consumers.” She also argued that “most minimum wage workers are young, single people working part-time or entry level jobs” and that “many are high school or college students living with their parents in middle-class families.” She warned that increasing the minimum wage “would require businesses to fire many of those part-time workers” and harm job creation ...

More here: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/04/15/3426716/oklahoma-ban-minimum-wage-paid-sick-leave/

And the Minnesota story:

Minnesota makes history with largest minimum wage hike

Article by: BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune
Updated: April 14, 2014 - 10:18 PM

The bill, signed into law Monday, will raise the base wage from $6.15 to $9.50 an hour and give raises to more than 325,000 Minnesotans.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law the largest minimum wage increase in state history Monday, giving raises to more than 325,000 Minnesotans and making good on a signature Democratic pledge during an election year.

The move to a $9.50 base hourly wage catapults the state from one of the lowest minimum wages to one of the highest once it is fully phased in by 2016. The state’s base wage will be tied to inflation starting in 2018, ensuring the buying power of the state’s lowest-paid workers keeps better pace with the cost of living.

“Minnesotans who work full time should be able to earn enough money to lift their families out of poverty, and through hard work and additional training, achieve the middle-class American dream,” the DFL governor said, surrounded by legislators, workers and labor leaders at a ceremonial bill-signing in the State Capitol rotunda. “These are people, good Minnesotans all over the state, who just want to work and get paid something that is fair.”

More here: http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/255265041.html

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