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Thursday, January 25, 2007
Several bills have been filed to fix what sponsors say is a problem with Proposition B, a ballot measure 76 percent of Missouri voters approved in November to increase the state’s minimum wage to $6.50 an hour. Proponents of the fix say Prop B inadvertently deleted from state law a provision exempting police and firefighters from overtime requirements. Many firefighters work 24-hour shifts, while law enforcement officers often have 10- to 12-hour shifts that result in work weeks that exceed 40 hours. State law previously followed federal law, which allowed police to work up to 171 hours and firefighters 212 hours in a 28 day period without qualifying for overtime. Many fire districts and municipalities say the change could cost them millions of dollars in unexpected overtime pay. Eighteen local governments have gone to court asking to be exempt from following the new law, including the minimum wage provisions.