Oklahoma bans city minimum wage hikes

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin speaks at the National Press Club, Jan. 15, 2014.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin speaks at the National Press Club, Jan. 15, 2014.

Oklahoma cities are now banned from raising their own minimum wages above the state level, thanks to a law signed by Republican Governor Mary Fallin on Tuesday. The law will also prevent cities in Oklahoma from crafting their own mandatory paid sick day laws.

Oklahoma's minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour, the same as the federal minimum wage. The new law would stymie labor's attempts to raise the minimum wage in Oklahoma City, where activists have been organizing around a proposed ballot initiative to raise the city-level minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

David Slain, a lawyer who wrote the ballot initiative, said Oklahoma's state legislature voted "to take the right of the people to decide minimum wage." He also suggested the campaign to get his initiative onto the ballot would continue.

Oklahoma's new law is hardly unique. New York also bars individual towns from setting their own minimum wages, although politicians in the state legislature are now trying to change that as part of a push to raise New York City's minimum wage.