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January, 1986, Vol. 109, No. 1
State labor legislation
enacted in 1985
There was a significant amount of both legislative activity and court action in the States during 1985, covering a wide variety of subjects in the field of employment standards.1 Major laws were enacted concerning many of the traditional issues such as minimum wage protection, collection of unpaid wages, bans on employment discrimination, public employee collective bargaining, and restrictions on the use of polygraph examinations. Legislation on the rights of employees to receive information and training about toxic substances found on the job site was passed in several additional States, and interest also continued involving pay equity for job of "comparable worth" and the impact on employees of plant closings or relocations. New measures evidenced interest in restricting door-to-door solicitation by children, requiring background clearances of day care employees, and governing the use of video display terminals in the workplace. Three States repealed prevailing wage laws, which set wage rates for publicly funded construction.
Montana, Oregon, and Vermont enacted legislation this year providing for across-the-board minimum wage rate increases effective in 1985 or 1986; a wage order revision in the District of Columbia raised the minimum wage applicable to manufacturing, printing, publishing, and wholesale trade occupations; and mandatory decree revisions in Puerto Rico increased rates applicable to employees of the personal services and communications industries. In addition, minimum wage rates were raised in Arkansas, Illinois, and Maine as the result of automatic increases provided for by previous enactments. The $3.35 per hour Federal standard is now exceeded in Alaska, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, and Maine, and the rate in Vermont is scheduled to increase from $3.35 to $3.45 per hour on July 1, 1986. As of January 1, 1986, 20 jurisdictions have minimum wage rates equal to the Federal standard and Montana will reach this level on October 1, 1986. A new North Carolina amendment requires matching increases up to $3.60 an hour in the State minimum if the Federal rate is increased before July 1, 1987.
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1 The legislature met only in a special session in Kentucky and no significant legislation was enacted in the fields covered by this article. Information on the Virgin Islands had not been received in time to include in this article, which is based on information received by Nov. 8, 1985. Unemployment insurance and workers' compensation are not within the scope of this article. Separate articles on each of these subjects are included in this issue of the Monthly Labor Review.
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