Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R) signed a bill on Tuesday limiting the ability of cities to raise the minimum wage, extend sick leave or allocate vacation days for employees, according to MSN on Wednesday. The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Grau, R-Edmond, was perceived mainly as an effort to block efforts to raise the minimum wage in Oklahoma City, despite President Barack Obama's nationwide push for permanent minimum wage hikes.
David Slain, a politically proactive attorney, wrote the initiative calling for the minimum wage in Oklahoma City to be raised to $10.10 an hour. Slain perceived the decision by the Oklahoma State Legislature and Governor to curtail the rights of cities to raise their minimum wage as a means of taking away the rights of citizens to decide their own minimum wage scales. Slain stated that he was surprised that legislators "would vote in such a way to take the right of the people to decide minimum wage."
Edmond said that he thought of the bill as a means of protecting businesses, especially small businesses. Edmond stated:
"This bill provides a level playing field for all municipalities in Oklahoma. An artificial raise in the minimum wage could derail local economies in a matter of months. This is a fair measure for consumers, workers and small business owners."
Fallin said that she felt that the minimum wage hike would result in the firings of many of the young people, mainly students, who now hold those minimum wage jobs. She also said that she believed that many of the students now being paid minimum wage are "middle class high school or college students living with their parents."
Fallin also expressed her concern that raising the minimum wage would hinder small businesses, hamper job creation efforts and result in a hike in prices for consumers:
"Mandating an increase in the minimum wage would require businesses to fire many of those part-time workers. It would create a hardship for small business owners, stifle job creation and increase costs for consumers. And it would do all of these things without even addressing the goal of reducing poverty."
This is not Fallin's first time to make a controversial decision. She recently signed a bill reinstating the slaughter of horses. She also signed a bill making it easier to execute criminals and limiting abortion rights in Oklahoma.