The Economic Policy Institute has compiled a national look at state laws that prevent local governments from mandating better working conditions in cities and counties than state law provides.

As you might expect, Arkansas is among the leaders in state pre-emption laws. We are, after all, a state that pre-empts any local regulation of firearms and is attempting under court challenge to pre-empt protection of civil rights laws for LGBT people.


The chart shows that Arkansas has barred local ordinances in three of five labor areas reviewed — minimum wage, fair schedules and paid leave. Arkansas has no local pre-emption on project labor agreements and prevailing wage requirements. Given the resistance to these ideas generally, it’s hard to imagine a local government supporting them, certainly not, say, the chamber of commerce-controlled Little Rock city government.

The specifics:

Minimum wage

Since 2017 (SB 668), Arkansas has prohibited its cities and counties from raising their local minimum wages above Arkansas’s state minimum wage.

Fair schedules

Since 2017 (SB 668) has prohibited its cities and counties from establishing any laws governing work schedules—such as laws requiring employers to give advance notice of work schedules or pay a premium for requiring workers to be “on call” for shifts. These laws are often referred to as “fair work scheduling” laws.

Paid leave

Since 2017 (SB 668), Arkansas has prohibited its cities and counties from requiring employers to provide employees paid sick days or paid family leave.

Sponsor of SB 668? Sen. Bart Hester. He was also a driving force behind the state law aimed at insuring the legality of discrimination against LGBT people at every level of government.