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State governments may block cities from setting minimum wage

One of the storylines that you may have missed in the current political climate is that state governments are introducing bills to preempt the authority of city governments.

Across the country, states are attempting to block cities from setting their own policies on a range of issues, including increases to the minimum wage.

State governments typically have the authority to regulate cities, although in some cases state legislatures provide city governments with more authority to set their own policies. That, however, is not the current trend.

The Huffington Post wrote recently about current battles between city and state governments. The article notes that, “Nearly two-thirds of Americans live in cities, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimate. New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, the nation’s three largest, each produce more economic output than all but six states…”

With so much of the U.S. population living in cities, many mayors argue that city governments should have more authority to oversee the needs of their citizens. We see this in places like Seattle, where the government instituted a city-wide minimum wage of $15 per hour that does not apply to the rest of the state.

Most of the state legislatures looking to control city decisions are not in favor of a higher minimum wage. They argue that state constitutions should set the regulations for the entire state, and all cities within the state should follow those laws.

While the minimum wage isn’t the only issue affected by preemption laws, it is a high-profile matter that is being targeted by state governments. It takes time for laws to change, meaning any changes your state government makes wouldn’t take effect tomorrow, but this is an important issue for both employees and employers to monitor.

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