[JURIST] Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton [official website] on Monday signed into law [press release] a bill [text] raising the state’s minimum wage for the first time in nearly a decade. The law is incremental, raising the minimum wage on August 1 of each year before reaching $9.50 per hour in 2016. The 2016 minimum wage is more than three dollars higher than the state’s previous minimum wage, which was among the lowest in the US [AP report]. Before the passage of the new law, Minnesota was one of only four states [Minimum Wage fact sheet, PDF] that had minimum wages lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The law also provides that Minnesota’s minimum wage will be indexed to inflation beginning in 2018, unless state officials take steps to suspend the raises.
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 Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and District of Columbia [texts] legislatures have enacted laws raising their states’ minimum wages. In February, 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’s most recent legislative act on the minimum wage.