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Supreme Court Will Soon Hear Minimum Wage Case

September 19th, 2018 by Jake Stofan
Can cities and counties pass a minimum wage is higher than what the state sets?
In 2016 Miami Beach moved to raise its local minimum wage to more than $5 higher than the state’s.
The move was staunchly opposed by groups like the Florida Retail Federation, which challenged the local ordinance in court.
“I think ultimately it should be up to the individual business. I don’t think the government should be telling a business what to pay their employees,” said James Miller with the Federation.
Miami Beach defended its ability to increase wages citing a 2004 constitutional amendment, but business groups argue a state law passed the year before supersedes the amendment.
“The constitution revision said yes you can adopt a higher minimum wage, but they didn’t at the same time limit the authority of the Legislature to put bounds around a municipality’s authority,” said Samantha Padgett, general council to the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.
So far, the argument has been upheld by a circuit court and an appeals court, but the state Supreme Court will have the final say.
Recently, law professors in the state’s capital and across the country have come out in support of Miami Beach.
Attorney and former FSU President Sandy D’Alemberte has been authorized to file a friend of the court brief on behalf of the city.
“We really need to respect the idea of giving local government power particularly where the constitution clearly intends for local government to have that power,” said D’Alemberte.
Miami Beach is asking the court to rule soon, arguing workers in the city are losing wages, which are scheduled to increase to $11.31 an hour on January 1st.
If ruled lawful by the State Supreme Court Miami Beach’s minimum wage would reach $13.31 by the year 2021.
The policy was enacted under the leadership of defeated Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine during his time as mayor.

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