Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a bill earlier this week blocking local governments from raising the minimum wage above the level set by the state.
Legislators pushed the law through earlier this month, as part of a package of measures introduced at the very end of their session. Rep. Denise Driehaus, the ranking Democrat on the state House Finance Committee, where the language was introduced, was stunned by the move.
The new law will preempt an effort by Cleveland to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. In contrast, the minimum hourly wage rate set by Ohio is $8.10. (It will increase to $8.15 next year.) Cleveland leaders had lobbied the state to preempt a minimum wage hike in the city, claiming that a higher minimum wage would hurt the local economy. The law also prevents local municipalities from requiring businesses to provide benefits like paid leave to workers.
Kasich’s office declined to comment on the governor’s decision to sign the bill.
Twenty states across the country have passed laws that preempt local governments from raising the minimum wage or requiring benefits for workers that go beyond what’s required by the state, ThinkProgress reported in July. The American Legislative Exchange Council has even drafted template legislation for states to do this.