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Legislature Kills Bill to Let Oklahoma Cities and Towns Set Their Own Minimum Wage

Couth Hillbilly

A state lawmaker’s effort to let Oklahoma cities and towns raise their minimum wages was snuffed out in committee on Monday.

Rep. Jason Dunnington said while they were able to for most of the state’s history, no local government has gone higher than the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour.

"And in 2014, even though it hadn’t happened yet, we decided in the great interest of this building that we knew better than the local municipalities, so we preempted that and said that they no longer would have control over that issue," Dunnington said.

Dunnington’s House Bill 1939 would have repealed the state preemption statute for minimum wage and paid leave. A subcommittee approved a motion not to pass the bill 5–3, meaning HB1939 is done for the entire session.

"Don’t you think the best entity to determine what a minimum wage ought to be should be an individual business rather than a government entity like the city council?" said Rep. Jeff Coody, one of the appropriations subcommittee members against the bill.

Oklahoma state law preempts municipalities on a range of issues, including fracking, cell phone use while driving and gun regulation.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.