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Oklahoma governor signs bill blocking minimum wage increase

[JURIST] Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin [official website] on Monday signed into law a bill [text, PDF] banning cities within the state from creating a mandatory minimum wage. The bill also prohibits cities [Huffington Post report] from enacting various mandatory employee benefits, such as sick and vacation time. Supporters of the legislation believe that it will protect consumers and local business communities, while those in opposition to the bill argue that it was meant to halt initiatives in Oklahoma City aimed at raising the minimum wage. Despite the bill's passage, the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation (AFL-CIO) [official website] will still attempt to gain the 80,000 signatures required for its petition in order to reach a statewide vote on the issue.

With Congress deadlocked over legislation to raise the federal minimum wage, numerous states have taken the opportunity to revise their own minimum wage laws. So far in 2014, the Minnesota, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and District of Columbia [texts] legislatures have enacted laws raising their states' minimum wages. In February US President Barack Obama [official website] signed an executive order [NYT report] raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 per hour, to take effect in 2015. Although many states have made strides to increasing their minimum wage, some states still, technically, have no minimum wage at all. Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina, Louisiana and Alabama have no state minimum wage legislation [NCSL fact sheet] beyond the $7.25 per hour mandated by the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 [LOC backgrounder], Congress' most recent legislative act on the minimum wage.

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