The South Dakota Democratic Party gave South Dakotans the opportunity to vote on raising South Dakota’s minimum wage in 2014. Voters responded by approving a 17% increase in that basic labor protection. Thanks to the yearly cost-of-living increase included in that 2014 initiative, South Dakota’s minimum wage is now $8.55 an hour.
Senator David Novstrup’s (R-3/Aberdeen) is pushing Referred Law 20 to cut the minimum wage for workers under 18 back to $7.50. Novstrup’s bill could take over $500 away from a teenager who works full-time through the summer. The South Dakota Democratic Party is countering Novstrup’s RL 20 as an attack on voters and on workers:
The Dems rightly identify the political motivations behind RL 20. Novstrup, who gets nervous when voters decide things, is pushing his youth sub-minimum wage to attack the 2014 initiative and discourage South Dakotans from using their initiative and referendum power.
Dems also rightly fly the other big d-word, discrimination. Labor protections like the minimum wage are for everyone in the workplace, regardless of age. If we can justify paying 16-year-olds sub-minimum due to perceptions that they aren’t as smart or ambitious as adult workers, we can justify paying 63-year-olds sub-minimum due to their declining physical stamina. We can justify paying pregnant moms less than minimum since they can’t walk as fast or lift as much.
David Novstrup, whose family makes its living on a seasonal business that already enjoys an exemption from the minimum wage law thanks to a bill Novstrup helped pass in 2011, would take us down an ugly road, promoting disrespect and discrimination with the youth sub-minimum wage. The South Dakota Democratic Party is fighting for voters and workers. You can, too, by voting NO on Referred Law 20.