Bread for the World says our ballot measures include some literal bread-and-butter issues. The anti-hunger group’s leader, Cathy Brechtelsbauer, has taken a leading role in campaigning for Initiated Measure 21, the real 36% rate cap on payday loans, and against Amendment U, the payday lenders’ decoy amendment to write unlimited interest rates into our state constitution. She reminds us that voting Yes on 21 and No on U will help poor folks keep money in their pockets for groceries:
The anti-hunger group Bread for the World, South Dakota chapter, is speaking out on several ballot measures that most directly affect hunger and poverty in South Dakota.
The group asks voters to support the 36% rate limit on payday and auto title loans. Brechtelsbauer says, “The 36% limit will be a huge help! Huge! We think a majority of South Dakotans wants a rate cap on these loans, but it’s a confusing, tricky ballot. If you want a real limit, not the fake 18%, then vote “No” on Amendment U and also vote “Yes” on Initiated Measure 21.” The group notes that Amendment U is backed by the payday lending industry to prevent limits. In effect, it would put a prohibition on rate limits into the State Constitution. In contrast, Initiated Measure 21 would enact a limit (36%) on interest and fees for certain types of loans [Bread for the World, press release, 2016.10.11].
Bread for the World sees an attack on working families in Referred Law 20, the Republican effort to cut the minimum wage for young workers. They remind us that every dollar counts for kids who go to work to help their families put food on the table:
In addition, Bread for the World-South Dakota is concerned about minimum wage in Referred Law #20. They urge a “No” vote on 20, in order to include young workers in the state’s minimum wage law. South Dakotans under age 18 who are employed are contributing to our state’s economy and to their families’ well being. Some need money for college. Young workers should receive the state’s minimum wage, which voters statewide approved in 2014, but which a majority of the legislature tried to take away in 2015.
Kristina Newling of Pierre knows about this first-hand. “I started working about when I turned 16. Because my mother is handicapped, I worked a full-time job to help support my family. I know many people who worked throughout high school. One friend was working three jobs to help her family. Some kids are saving for college or a car. A lot of high school kids are working as hard as anyone. So why should they get paid less?” [Bread for the World, 2016.10.11]
South Dakota’s ten ballot measures aren’t esoteric exercises in political puffery (well, maybe Amendment R…). The votes we cast on 20, 21, and U may affect how much food some families have to eat. Faced with such important decisions, Brechtelsbauer says we shouldn’t just “throw up our hands as though nothing can be done.” We can think through the measures, weigh their consequences, and cast informed votes “to help improve lives this year.”