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KCMO mayor introduces ordinances impacting city employees

Minimum wage increase, ban on drug testing for marijuana
kcmo city hall1.jpg
Posted at 5:41 PM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 19:30:40-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Changes could be coming in how Kansas City, Missouri, hires and pays its employees.

Mayor Quinton Lucas introduced ordinances impacting city employees and people hoping to work for the city on Thursday.

One of the ordinances would remove pre-employment drug tests for marijuana for some city jobs.

Under the ordinance, testing for marijuana would be removed from the application process for people seeking a job with the city.

There are jobs which are exceptions to the drug testing ordinance:

  • Law enforcment;
  • Positions requiring a commercial driver's license;
  • Supervising or caring for children, medical patients, or disabled people;
  • Positions impacting public health and safety.

Lucas said the ordinance is about fairness, especially as the views on marijuana change across Missouri and the country.

"Just because you have used marijuana in your past doesn't mean you're a bad person. And just because you've used marijuana in your past doesn't mean that you should be barred from having any number of jobs," he said.

Lucas explained the ordinance will not prevent drug testing for an employee if issues come up.

Another ordinance introduced in council on Thursday will raise the minimum wage for full-time city employees to $15 an hour.

"We are having a hiring concern just like everybody else in America right now, so we need to make sure we're competitive. But we need to make sure more than anything, we're taking care of our employees," Lucas said.

The move is applauded by Fight For 15, a group advocating to increase the minimum wage to $15 for all workers.

"As the workers' class as a whole, we go up or we go down together. So this $15 proposal for city workers is a victory for all workers in Kansas City," said Terrence Wise.

Wise is a fast food worker who works closely with Fight For 15. He said $15 is the floor — not the ceiling — for workers and adds the proposed ordinance is a move in the right direction he hopes others in the private sector follow.

"It's a win-win. You put money is more workers' pockets, city workers or whatever the case may be, and then you help grow the economy," Wise said.

City council still needs to vote on the ordinances. If passed, the minimum wage ordinance could go into effect Sept. 12, 2021.

A spokesperson for Lucas said the ordinance on pre-employment drug screening for marijuana could be signed as soon as it arrives on the mayor's desk.