Regulatory Wrap-Up: Weekly review of retail-related legislative, judicial developments -- Nov. 26

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Regulatory Wrap-Up: Weekly review of retail-related legislative, judicial developments -- Nov. 26

By CSA Staff - 11/26/2018

Connecticut - Governor-elect Ned Lamont reiterated his support for a $15/hr minimum wage. Other supporters note that with Democrats in full control of the legislature, the likelihood for a wage increase has significantly increased.

Florida - The state supreme court set a date of March 6 for oral arguments related to Miami Beach’s effort to raise their local minimum wage beyond the state level. Last year, the city passed a minimum wage increase to $15/hr knowing that they were violating the state’s preemption law but hoping subsequent court action would find preemption unconstitutional.

Louisiana - The governor called for a modest increase to the state minimum wage, citing neighboring Missouri and Arkansas as “conservative leaning states [that] approved a minimum wage increase” at the ballot recently. The Democratic governor acknowledges advancing a law through the Republican- controlled legislature will be a challenge.

Minnesota - Following the passage of a $15/hr minimum wage increase in St. Paul, which mirrors a similar law in neighboring Minneapolis, advocates are focusing on a statewide effort next session. The state senate is still controlled by Republicans, many of whom have registered their opposition to a statewide increase, but the issue will likely progress further than in previous legislative sessions.

Washington - The state Department of Labor and Industries released draft rules for increasing the state’s overtime threshold for salaried employees. The department also announced three public listening sessions throughout the state that run through the end of November.

Cook County, IL - Earlier this month, voters approved a non-binding ballot initiative supporting a $13/hr minimum wage. The county passed an ordinance in 2016 but the vast majorities of townships opted out of the provision. The recent initiative passed with over 80 percent support and advocates are increasing pressure for a new countywide mandate.

Sonoma County, CA - Advocates are pressuring local governments in the county to raise their minimum wages to $15/hr ahead of the scheduled statewide phase-in, as dictated by state law.

St. Paul, MN - As the dust settles following the contentious debate around the recently-passed $15/hr law, specific provisions are becoming increasingly clear. Notably, language that exempted restaurant workers subject to a collective bargaining agreement was removed from the final ordinance. Many other jurisdictions that have passed similar laws regularly exempt unionized workers.

JP Morgan Chase - The company announced its entry-level wage would increase to $18/hr for bank tellers and other positions in the Washington, DC area. The announcement comes as the company plans to increase its brick and mortar presence across the country.

Paid Leave

Leave Optimization Group - Dozens of companies with operations in multiple states have partnered with the National Business Group on Health to help employers manage paid leave programs. The group will exchange best practices and compliance concerns that result from the patchwork of state and local laws mandating paid leave for employees.

Massachusetts - The newly created agency, the Department of Family and Medical Leave, launched a new website and issued initial guidance for implementing the recently-passed paid leave law.

Austin, TX - The U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled against the city, overturning a paid sick leave ordinance that became law earlier this year. The court found that the city law violated a state law preempting localities from raising the minimum wage, basically extending existing minimum wage preemption to other labor-related issues. The case could eventually impact other local labor laws.

Cook County, IL - Earlier this month, as they did with minimum wage, voters approved a non-binding ballot initiative that showcases support for a mandated employer-provided paid leave program. The county passed a similar ordinance in 2016, but the vast majority of townships opted out of the provision. The initiative passed with over 80 percent support and advocates are beginning to pressure for a new countywide mandate.


Seattle, WA - A state Superior Court judge ruled that a case against the city over the repeal of the city’s “head tax” law could proceed. The case alleges procedural violations occurred when the city abruptly repealed a per employee head tax in the face of business opposition earlier this year.

Health Care 

Florida - The state attorney general announced the addition of Walgreens and CVS to the state's case against pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis. The state case alleges the companies were complicit in making opioid based pharmaceuticals too readily available.

Key Takeaways

  • Labor advocates are increasingly looking for opportunities to push back on state preemption laws through the courts. Anytime they can get the issue into a courtroom, they have a chance. Pay close attention to the legal battles in Florida and Texas as the state constitutionality of preemption is tested.

  • With Congress soon to return for their lame-duck session, one of the top priorities will be a tax bill that will in part, include some technical corrections to last year’s landmark legislation. Included in that debate will be correcting an error in the new law forcing retailers and restaurants to depreciate some renovations over 39 years instead of taking the immediate deduction Congress intended. There is little, if any, dispute that Congress should fix the language. But it isn’t clear exactly when that might happen. This is the time for brands to vigorously engage with their elected representatives and political allies to push for reinstatement of the previous depreciation language.


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