Voters raise the minimum wages of Mo., Ark.

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Residents of Missouri and Arkansas voted yesterday to raise their state’s minimum wage to $12 and $11, respectively. 

In another development certain to affect restaurants, voters in Michigan approved a ballot initiative that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana. The proposal would decriminalize the sale and use of cannabis as early as December. Michigan is the tenth state to approve the consumption of marijuana for fun. 

Arizona approved a measure that prohibits state officials and local governments from levying new taxes and increases on services, but the effect on restaurants is unclear. In Illinois, Chicago voters approved a ballot proposal that encourages Windy City lawmakers to ban the use of straws.

The wage increases approved for Missouri and Arkansas will be phased into place over a period of years. In Missouri, where the minimum is currently $7.85 an hour, restaurants and other employers will be required to pay a minimum of $$8.60 as of Jan. 1, $9.45 in 2020, $10.30 in 2021, $11.15 in 2022;and $12 in 2023.

Arkansas’ pay floor will rise to $11 by 2021.  The legal minimum wage will rise to $9.25 an hour on Jan. 1, $10 a year later and $11 the year after that.

The midterm election brought fewer increases than the balloting of two years ago, when five initiatives mandated pay hikes. 

Voters rejected a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana use in North Dakota. Residents of 


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