On October 20, 2016, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that our commonwealth’s cities do not have the power to increase the minimum wage, given the state’s existing regulations. The decision reverses an earlier ruling by the Jefferson County Circuit Court, which upheld a challenge to Louisville’s minimum wage ordinance. You can read the Kentucky Supreme Court’s majority opinion, concurring opinion, and the dissenting opinion here.
I am disappointed by this ruling. I believe some of our community’s most vulnerable working members need relief. I supported Lexington’s minimum wage ordinance and am hopeful for action at the state level by the Kentucky General Assembly. At the October 25, 2016 Work Session, Council considered a motion that would repeal the minimum wage ordinance (Ordinance 130-2015) and a complementary ordinance (Ordinance 113-2016) that authorized the Human Rights Commission to enforce it. Given this issue’s importance, I opposed that motion because keeping the ordinances creates no legal issue, emphasizes Lexington’s intention for a more livable wage, and continues to highlight the needs for state action. The motion to repeal the ordinances failed by a vote of 8-6.
For additional analysis of the issue as it currently stands, please click here to read this op-ed by the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy’s Jason Bailey. For additional context on the local history of minimum wage, please see my earlier blog posts below:
- The Gap Between Wages and the Cost of Living
- Minimum Wage Increase for Lexington: Ongoing Deliberations
- Public Comment Opportunity for Minimum Wage
- Minimum Wage Increase Delayed
- Minimum Wage Wins Early Legal Test
- Council Advances Minimum Wage Consideration
- Resignation from CommerceLexington
- Minimum Wage Meeting Postponed
- Minimum Wage of $10.10 Advances to the Council Docket
- Final Vote on Minimum Wage
- My Support for the Minimum Wage Increase