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      Minimum wage bill would prohibit cities from setting own wage

      State lawmakers are deciding the future of the minimum wage in Oklahoma.

      Groups like the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation want to do the same by starting a petition that would up the minimum wage in Oklahoma City to $10.10 an hour in the city.
      "We need this in Oklahoma City, we need this in the state of Oklahoma," said Senator Constance Johnson, earlier in the month.
      But Senate Bill 1023, passing out of committee Wednesday, would take that option off the table. The bill makes the state minimum wage the only wage acceptable.
      "It's to ensure that we have a consistent minimum wage across the state, whatever that is," said Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman.
      Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman wrote the bill. He says the idea is to keep businesses from dealing with problems from wages that differ from city to city.
      "If each entity had a different minimum wage, if you have a business that has multiple locations, you'd be paying different rates at different locations," Hickman said.
      Opponents say voters should be able to decide what's right for their community and not be subject to government telling them what to do.
      NAACP Oklahoma president Garland Pruitt says more money benefits everyone in the community.
      "How do we benefit by not raising it when we know, that income will be put right back into our economic prosperity?" Pruitt said.
      Hickman says the issue isn't about pay directly, but instead about making Oklahoma a place where businesses will come to stay.
      "We want Oklahoma to be a great place to do business, cause if it is, it's more job opportunities for Oklahomans and more opportunities to have a better living for them and their families."

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