- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The effort to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in St. Louis hit a potentially fatal snag Friday when the chairman of the committee that would consider the idea canceled all future hearings on it.

A measure filed earlier this month with support of Democratic Mayor Francis Slay would have potentially raised the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour by 2020.

But the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1e8lXrT ) reports that Alderman Joe Vaccaro, acting chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, canceled all hearings on the proposal, calling it disingenuous to push the bill on such short notice.

The bill would have to pass before Aug. 28. That’s when a state law takes effect that forbids cities from raising the minimum wage higher than the state level, unless Gov. Jay Nixon vetoes it. Missouri’s minimum wage is $7.65 per hour.

Slay said a single alderman shouldn’t be able to end debate.

“Marriage equality, justice, access to quality education and a living wage_these are family issues that hold communities together,” Slay said. “The city has led the region and state on all of them. We want to be that different place.”

Two-thirds majority of aldermen would be needed to pull the bill out of committee, a tall task for a bill on such a hotly-debated topic. Meanwhile, aldermen go on summer break starting July 10.

“Without enough time to get all the facts it would be impossible to come up with what is fair and equitable for everyone,” said Vaccaro. He took over leadership of the committee after chairman Steve Conway recused himself over a conflict of interest. Conway is the chief financial officer of St. Louis-based pizza chain Imo’s, which would be affected by the rate increase.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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