Miami Beach Minimum Wage Case Heads To State Supreme Court

Aug 29, 2018

A divided Florida Supreme Court said Wednesday it will take up a dispute about whether the city of Miami Beach can move forward with a local minimum wage.

Justices issued an order agreeing to hear the city’s appeal of a ruling last year by the 3rd District Court of Appeal that struck down the local minimum wage.

Justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince and Jorge Labarga supported taking up the case, while Chief Justice Charles Canady and justices Ricky Polston and Alan Lawson dissented. The order did not set a date for oral arguments.

The local minimum wage was approved in 2016 and was scheduled to take effect this year. The minimum wage would have been $10.31 in 2018 and go up $1 a year to $13.31 on Jan. 1, 2021. That is higher than the statewide minimum wage, which is $8.25 this year.

Opponents, including the Florida Retail Federation, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, filed a lawsuit against the city, contending that local governments do not have the legal authority to set their own minimum wages. The case, in part, focused on a 2004 constitutional amendment that created a higher minimum wage in Florida than the federal minimum wage. Miami Beach argued that the constitutional amendment also allowed it to set a different minimum wage. But the 3rd District Court of Appeal said an earlier state law prevented local governments from setting minimum wages and that the constitutional amendment did not change that “preemption” law.