Dean Kurtz of Custer sends a fine letter to the editor of the Hot Springs Star criticizing Senate Bill 177, the youth minimum wage. He tells his neighbors that signing and circulating the petition to refer SB 177 to a public vote is about respecting every South Dakota worker and every South Dakota voter… respect that our Legislature does not share:
Our legislature disrespects S.D. voters.
In November, South Dakota with a 55 percent majority, voted to increase the minimum wage to $8.50 and also voted to establish yearly cost-of-living adjustments.
However, the legislators in Pierre disregarded the will of the people and decided to lower it to $7.50 for those under the age of 18. The legislature also decided those under 18 did not deserve to have this rate automatically recalculated each year due to cost of living increases.
It is wrong to pay workers differently based only on age, whether they are young or old. And, it is a change to a law approved by the people and the people should be able to decide if it stands.
A petition is being circulated to refer SB 177 and have it placed on the ballot in 2016. I urge you to sign this petition and have this blatant disregard for the wishes of the voters removed from the books. We have until June 22 to obtain the needed 14,000 signatures.
I urge you to contact Representative Mike Verchio and Senator Bruce Rampelberg and tell them this is viewed as an insult and ask why they voted against the will of the people.
Representative Lance Russell voted against this measure. Please call him and tell him how much you appreciate his vote and his stand for equal rights for our youth [Dean Kurtz, letter to the editor, Hot Springs Star, 2015.05.12].
Note that Dean Kurtz is a week early on that deadline. We have until June 29 to submit our petitions to Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, but if you me to get them in time to box them up for delivery to Pierre on June 29, then holy cow, sending them here to Aberdeen by June 22 would be really nice!
Rep. Lance Russell didn’t like our raising the minimum wage, but he liked the “dangerous precedent” of immediately overturning the will of the people even less. Rep. Russell was among 14 House Republicans who bucked the party to oppose this whack at young workers and all voters.
Kurtz’s letter makes a good argument. It also makes good marketing: Kurtz’s letter got another citizen to ring my phone this morning and volunteer to circulate the SB 177 petition. I directed that caller to the referendum webpage; she downloaded the petition and my handy-dandy petition circulation guide, and she’s on the trail! Whoo-hoo! The snow is done, the sun is out—let’s knock on some doors, write some letters to the editors, and fight for workers’ and voters’ rights!