Aldermen pass minimum wage hike to $11 by 2018 in St. Louis – AIM maintains its illegality

From St. Louis Public Radio St. Louis Aldermen completed a harrowing process to raise the city’s minimum wage – a decision that supporters say will help the city’s low-income workers. But few believe that Friday’s affirmative vote marks the last word in the minimum wage saga, especially if businesses or business groups pursue legal action to invalidate the newly enacted ordinance. Associated Industries of Missouri maintains that the action of the Board of Aldermen is illegal. State statute prohibits local governments from enacting a local minimum wage. State law overrides local law and the state law allows employers to pay $7.65 per hour. “The City of St. Louis has ignored state law and saddled employers with a big headache with this one,” said Ray McCarty, president of Associated Industries of Missouri. “How are employers supposed to receive notice of this supposed increase in minimum wage – there is no practical way to inform employers of their supposed liability if they are trying to

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Missouri AG thinks all states may see effects of WOTUS ruling

From Brownfield Ag. News Network Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says he believes the EPA might not enforce the federal Clean Water Rule in all 50 states, but, following a 13-state injunction, he does expect the EPA to fight the decision. Koster says that whether the judge’s ruling effectively blocking Friday’s implementation of the rule is valid in only the 13 states originally part of the suit, or in all 50 states, is an open question. He says he’s happy because Missouri is one of the 13 states covered by the ruling, but says he assumes the EPA will ask to have it reversed. “My suspicion is that the EPA will not try to enforce this in other states,” Koster told Brownfield Ag News on Friday.  “I think that once cooler heads prevail, it will be a 50-state enjoinment, but right now I do understand they’re contesting it.” Koster says the ruling sends a clear message to the federal government.

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Senate vote on unemployment cuts likely in veto session

From the Columbia Daily Tribune Two things hold Alex Schmidt back from finding a job that pays enough to support himself and his wife. A lack of a high school diploma disqualifies him from many jobs, the 26-year-old Fulton resident said. And without certification as a small-engine mechanic, a job that paid him $16 an hour until he lost it in March, most shops won’t talk with him. The certification would require at least one class, Schmidt said, and he’s $500 behind on rent. His wife’s wages are being garnished by a previous landlord, and the clock is ticking on his 20 weeks of unemployment payments. His immediate goal, Schmidt said Thursday outside the Columbia Job Center at 1500 Vandiver Drive, “is pretty much finding a job that would support my bills. I am trying to get enough money to get rent caught up.” In 2011, when unemployment in Missouri was almost 9 percent, lawmakers cut the maximum time people

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Focus on ‘right to work’ gets more intense as legislators consider override attempt

From St. Louis Public Radio After a brief hiatus, both sides in the battle over “right to work” are back with a vengeance as they gear up for the Missouri General Assembly’s veto session in just over two weeks. The dueling campaigns may be aimed, in part, at influencing Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Cape Girardeau. A spokesman said the speaker has yet to decide whether to bring up the “right to work” bill, which was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon earlier this summer. To override the governor, backers need to sway at least 18 Republicans in the state House to switch their opposing votes. The state Senate needs only a couple Republicans to change their minds. The Missouri arm of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative free-market group, has announced a new TV-ad campaign launching Thursday throughout the state. The group, which is tied to the Koch brothers, has been among the most outspoken supporters of “right to work,” which

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U.S. Judge Blocks New Federal Rule on Jurisdiction of Waterways

From the Associated Press A federal judge in North Dakota on Thursday blocked a new Obama administration rule that would give the federal government jurisdiction over some state waterways. U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota issued a temporary injunction against a the rule, which gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineersauthority to protect some streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. The rule was scheduled to take effect Friday. “The risk of irreparable harm to the states is both imminent and likely,” Erickson said in blocking the rule from taking effect. Thirteen states led by North Dakota asked Erickson to suspend guidelines that they say are unnecessary and infringe on state sovereignty. The federal government says the new rule clarifies ambiguity in the law and actually makes it easier for the states to manage some waterways. It wasn’t immediately clear if the injunction applied to states other than the 13 led by

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NAM: Key Fed policymaker suggests delay in rate increase

The Wall Street Journal (8/27, Derby, Subscription Publication) reports that New York Fed President William Dudley said on Wednesday that the likelihood of the Fed starting to raise rates in September had dropped considerably as overseas concerns have grown. Dudley said that the argument for raising the rates at the Fed’s September meeting “seems less compelling to me than it did several weeks ago. But normalization could become more compelling by the time of the meeting as we get additional information” about the state of the US economy. JPMorgan’s chief US economist, Michael Feroli, according to the New York Times (8/27, Appelbaum, Subscription Publication), said Dudley “left the door open to September just a tad, which makes sense given that markets and payrolls can surprise in a bunch of ways.” Meanwhile University of Oregon economist Tim Duy “said that the Fed, in effect, was already tightening domestic financial conditions by standing still while central banks in other countries, including China,

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Missouri gets nearly $600,000 to support small business exports

From KOMU-TV The United States Small Business Administration provided Missouri with nearly $600,000 in federal funding to help Missouri businesses export products to new markets in Central and South America. The funding is part of the State Trade and Export Promotion Grant Program. STEP awards grants to help small businesses increase the number of goods and the number of countries states sell products to. The International unit of the Missouri Department of Economic Development will administer the distribution of the $599,000 grant. The Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Centers is an extension of the University of Missouri that focuses on supporting business growth, and local and regional economic development through job creation and retention. The SBTDC found that small and mid-sized businesses make up almost 97 percent of U.S. exports. “There’s a market for Columbia businesses outside the United States,” said Larry Dill, the director of the International Trade Center of the MU extension. “96 percent of the worlds

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NAM calls for action against proposed EPA ozone rule as groundswell of opposition builds

During an interview with Charlie Sykes available via a podcast on the WTMJ-AM Milwaukee (8/27) website, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons discussed the Environmental Protection Agency’s new ozone standards, noting that the proposed regulation “is absolutely one of the most foolhardy endeavors that I think I have ever seen in Washington.” In response to Sykes’ inquiries on the “absolutely staggering” costs that the regulations will impart on Wisconsin and the nation, Timmons stated, “when we say expensive, it means direct economic impact on communities across this country, direct economic impact on people’s pay checks, on their livelihoods, on the cost of energy that they consume.” Timmons added, “Everything that matters in their life will be more expensive and it will also impede our ability to grow our economy, in other words, raise wages and salaries, so you’re going to have stagnating wages and rising costs.” Timmons called on listeners to “reach out to their members of Congress and United

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Stock market stages major rally

The US stock market surged back on Wednesday, snapping a week of sharp drops. The media consensus is that a combination of a strong US economic report, the prospect of the Fed delaying rate increases, and intervention by the Chinese government reassured investors. USA Today (8/27, Shell, Spitzer) reports that the Dow Jones Industrial Average “rallied sharply late in the session, closing up 619.07 points, or 4%, to 16,285.51.” Unlike Tuesday, the market rally “stuck this time because more good news was released about the US economy” and a Fed member “hinted that a interest rate hike might not be coming in September as feared and Wall Street was more convinced that Chinese authorities would do more to stimulate its shaky economy.”Reuters (8/27, Randewich) reports that the S&P 500 was up 3.9 percent to 1,940.51, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 4.24 percent to close at 4,697.54. The Los Angeles Times (8/27, Peltz) reports that traders “said shares were helped

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Data center in Springfield Underground to expand

From the Springfield News Leader Columbia-based telecommunications company Bluebird Network plans to more than double the size of its data center in Springfield Underground. Between now and mid-2017, three construction phases will add 16,000 square feet of raised floor to the Bluebird Underground facility, according to the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. The data center is currently 13,500 square feet, and was previously operated by City Utilities; Bluebird acquired the facility in December for $8.4 million. “From its opening in 2002, the success of the data center has resulted in full occupancy and a need to expand,” the chamber said in a Friday project announcement. “Input gathered by Chamber economic development staff from customers, prospects, and site selection consultants helped assess the center’s expansion potential. After a full evaluation by CU economic development staff, the utility determined the best way to expand the data center was to bring in a private partner. Bluebird Network’s acquisition of and commitment to the

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