- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Council has agreed to put a citizen group’s minimum wage petition on the November ballot.

The petition seeks a local minimum wage increase to $15 per hour by 2020. The council had to authorize the ballot question by Thursday to meet a deadline for the Nov. 3 election, The Kansas City Star reported (https://bit.ly/1NIzq5V ).

The council said, however, that the petition may get withdrawn from the ballot if the Missouri General Assembly acts in September to prevent a higher minimum wage.

The General Assembly’s special veto session is scheduled to begin Sept. 16, when lawmakers will try to override a governor’s veto and put in place a law that specifically prohibits cities like Kansas City from adopting any minimum wage above the state-mandated level of $7.65 per hour.

“This is just about as confusing a procedural matter as I’ve come across in a long, long time,” City Attorney Bill Geary said Thursday.

The council also approved its own minimum wage ordinance in July to increase the city’s base wage to $13 per hour by 2020.

If lawmakers remove any possibility of local control of minimum wage, Geary said it will make the council-approved $13-per-hour ordinance and the petition initiative moot.

But if the legislature doesn’t override the veto, the city’s proposed $13 minimum wage still faces another challenge from business groups that oppose the $13 minimum wage. Restaurant officials said Thursday they expect to have the necessary 3,400 valid petition signatures soon to try to overturn the council’s ordinance.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com

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