Maybe we South Dakotans need to look to the Nebraska Legislature for examples of good sense. Not only did Nebraska repeal its death penalty, but its legislators also rejected a youth minimum wage that would have flown in the face of a popular ballot initiative:
State lawmakers Friday [May 15] rejected a bill (LB599) that would have kept the minimum wage at $8 an hour for most student workers age 18 and under once the state’s overall minimum wage increases to $9 an hour in 2016.
The measure needed support from 33 senators to pass on the final round of debate. It got 29.
Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, who sponsored the petition to raise Nebraska’s overall minimum wage last year, called Friday’s vote “a win for democracy.”
Sen. Laura Ebke of Crete, who sponsored this year’s youth minimum wage bill, said it remains to be seen if rural grocery stores and other small businesses will suffer as a result [Zach Pluhacek, “Nebraska Lawmakers Reject Lower Minimum Wage for Young Workers,” Lincoln Journal-Star, 2015.05.15].
It would be highly instructive to compare the economic impacts on small rural businesses of a unified minimum wage in Nebraska versus the discriminatory youth minimum wage passed by this year’s South Dakota Legislature… if that costly and unnecessary South Dakota youth minimum wage were allowed to take effect July 1. But we won’t get that research opportunity, since four weeks from now, my friends and I will submit well over 13,871 signatures to suspend that youth minimum wage and put it to a vote. (Circulators! Keep working! We have until June 29!)