Voters in Missouri delivered a victory for workers, approving a measure to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023.
As of now, Missouri’s minimum wage is $7.85. With the approval of the ballot measure, the minimum wage in the state will increase each year by 85 cents until 2023. After that, the wage will be determined each year by an inflation index.
The victory of Proposition B, as the measure is known, wasn’t just another win for the nationwide movement to raise minimum wages, but a direct rebuke to Missouri Republicans, who last year passed a law blocking all minimum wage increases by localities in the state. That law was a response to St. Louis’ attempt to increase the city’s minimum wage. The city had already raised the minimum wage to $10 an hour when the statewide ban came down, forcing many workers to take a pay cut.
Unsurprisingly, the ban was met with anger from many voters, who immediately began a campaign for a statewide ballot measure.
“I’m boiling mad,” Sandy Hinson, a janitor who makes minimum wage, told HuffPost at the time. “We need a raise. We need a minimum wage high enough so that you can raise a family.”
Missouri isn’t the only state that has tried to preempt popular efforts to raise the minimum wage. There are at least 18 states with preemption laws that effectively ban minimum wage increases, almost all of them passed in the last several years.
Republicans in the Missouri Assembly could still vote to nullify the law, but doing so could be a dangerous political move now that the popular support for the raise is clear.