(Jefferson City) (AP) – The new year is bringing a dime increase for Missouri’s minimum wage and the end of an open records law exemption that has shielded from disclosure security systems and structural plans for buildings and polices for responding to terrorism.
Starting Wednesday, workers in Missouri will be paid at least $7.35 an hour, an increase above the federal rate of $7.25 because of inflation. A 2006 voter-approved law increased the minimum wage and included an annual cost of living adjustment.
The minimum wage also is increasing in nine other states, according to the National Employment Law Project. Advocates estimate Missouri’s minimum wage increase could directly affect 72,000 people and indirectly affect 7,000.
Business groups said Missouri needs to rethink automatically increasing the minimum wage based upon inflation because it makes it harder to compete with neighboring states.
Another change taking hold with the start of 2013 could allow access to some records that governmental agencies previously were permitted to close.
Two exemptions to Missouri’s open records law, frequently called the Sunshine Law, expire at the end of 2012. One covers the operational guidelines and policies developed by law enforcement, public safety, first response or public health authorities for preventing and responding to terrorism incidents. The other deals with security systems and structural plans of property that’s owned or leased by a government agency.
But the change could be short-lived. Legislation has been proposed to extend the Sunshine Law exemptions through 2016. Jean Maneke, an attorney for the Missouri Press Association, said there has been work to adjust the exemptions to improve the definitions and make them more precise and narrow.