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Business Observer Friday, Apr. 14, 2017 3 years ago

Maximum effort

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Judge kills Miami Beach effort to hike minimum wage.

Advocates for raising the minimum wage in Florida have gone local, given the stalled effort in Tallahassee for a statewide increase.

But even the local efforts have hit a snag, this time from the courts.

Officials in Miami Beach, for example, recently passed an ordinance that would raise its minimum wage to $13.31 an hour by 2021. That's up from the current Florida minimum wage of $8.10 an hour.

A judge struck down the ordinance. He cited a Florida statute that prevents a municipality from establishing a minimum wage separate from the state or federal minimum wage, says Sarasota labor and employment lawyer Jennifer Fowler-Hermes, with Williams Parker. “In reaching its decision, the court rejected the (city's) argument that ... the Florida Constitution provides explicit authority for municipalities to enact their own wage ordinances,” writes Fowler-Hermes in an April 10 blog post.

City officials can appeal the decision. But in the meantime, business owners who worry a minimum wage increase will backfire can enjoy a brief victory. “The decision will lend support to challenges to other wage ordinances in the state,” Fowler-Hermes writes. “In addition, this decision may cull current efforts in other municipalities to increase minimum wages.”

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