Oklahoma bans local minimum wage hikes

April 15, 2014: 4:07 PM ET
mary fallin oklahoma
Gov. Mary Fallin has spoken out against increasing the minimum wage.

Oklahoma cities and towns are banned from raising the local minimum wage under a new state law.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed the measure Monday. The new law also bars localities from requiring that employees receive a certain number of sick or vacation days, either paid or unpaid.

With legislation to increase the federal minimum wage stalled in Congress, proponents of a raise have turned their attention to states and cities. Several have recently approved increases to $10.10 an hour. That is the level supported by congressional Democrats and President Obama, who has urged local governments to act.

The Oklahoma law blocks that sort of move.

Related: Starbucks CEO backs minimum wage raise

Critics of the bill say it was a direct response to a petition in Oklahoma City seeking to put a wage increase on the November ballot.

David Slane, a local criminal attorney who drafted the proposal, said the signature-gathering began a month ago and was already more than halfway to the approximately 10,000 signatures required for a spot on the ballot.

Organizers are deciding how to move forward. Slane said. They're weighing a challenge to the law's constitutionality or a statewide petition, which would require significantly more signatures.

Fallin, a Republican, said the law "protects our economy from bad public policy that would destroy Oklahoma jobs."

"Mandating a minimum wage increase at the local level would drive businesses to other communities and states, and would raise prices for consumers," she said in a statement. She has also opposed a federal increase to the minimum wage.

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