Two more Aberdeen neighbors endorse me with letters to the editor in today’s paper:
Thanks, Tracie and Tim! Four days to go— let’s all get out an vote!
Two more Aberdeen neighbors endorse me with letters to the editor in today’s paper:
Thanks, Tracie and Tim! Four days to go— let’s all get out an vote!
David Novstrup is always good for a laugh. The latest knee-slapper from the Senator I will replace comes from David’s appearance on last night’s Inside KELOLand, where he makes this statement about Referred Law 20, his effort to cut the minimum wage for workers under 18 from $8.55 to $7.50 an hour:
It’s really not about paying youth less [Sen. David Novstrup, Inside KELOLand, 2016.10.30, timestamp 9:35].
Referred Law 20 pays youth less. Its prime sponsor says Referred Law 20 isn’t about paying youth less.
Hmm… if a law isn’t about the thing it actually does, then what is it about?
Poor David seems as detached from reality on the practical effect of his own law as he is about the affront to voters his proposal commits by undoing a voter initiative. Unlike David, I won’t shout Liar! I’ll just shake my head and say poor David is very, very confused. I am pleased to have the opportunity to replace him in the Senate and relieve him of all this pressure to explain things he votes for.
Last night’s South Dakota Focus led off with discussion of Referred Law 20, the youth minimum wage cut. SDPB hasn’t made the video embeddable, but here are images of the two speakers, prime sponsor Senator David Novstrup and the man who will replace him in Pierre, me:
SDPB shows clear bias here by shooting Novstrup on the shady side of the street while framing me on the sunny side of the street. Of course, it was also a 90-degree July day when we shot our segment, so you’d think I’d be wilting in the heat. But poor David looks like he’s being led to the gallows.
Of course, if I were trying to defend a bad bill by contending that we disrespect older workers by giving young workers equal minimum protection in the workplace, I’d look a little ill, too.
But at least David was willing to go on camera to defend his poor work. For the second segment of last night’s show, on Referred Law 19, the petition reform bill, SDPB’s Stephanie Rissler couldn’t get David or any other Republican who voted for it in 2015 to defend the measure. She’s stuck reading Rep. Brian Gosch’s (R-32/Rapid City) risibly short, crassly partisan, and flatly false proponent statement. Viewers thus are treated to seven minutes (starting around timestamp 09:40) of my explaining how Referred Law 19 leads to fewer candidates and fewer choices on our ballot.
I have heard from a couple of readers who are confused by this month’s SDPB programming guide, which apparently lists me as the “sponsor” of Referred Laws 19 and 20. Indeed, that is confusing, making it sound like I’m supporting those two measures. As last night’s South Dakota Focus makes clear, I oppose both measures… and so should you!
The latest Dakota Free Press poll finds that Referred Law 19, David and Al Novstrup’s effort to cut the minimum wage for teenagers, is as popular as Donald Trump among my readers.
I asked Sunday morning, “Do you support Referred Law 20, which would cut the minimum wage for young workers?” Through the wee hours this morning, 202 of you responded (thank you!). 84% of you said No; 16% said Yes.
That 16% Yes vote is the same result that Donald Trump got in the DFP Presidential poll in mid-September. The 84% rejection is harder thumpage than DFP readers gave Referred Law 19 at State Fair time. The greater than 5-to-1 difference is far bigger than the almost 2-to-1 votes you cast in favor of Amendment V in August.
Hmm… looks like it’s time for me to poll the other ballot measures and see if we can rack up any greater margin of defeat or victory for any other measure!
Now we know that Dakota Free Press readers are not representative of the general electorate. You’re all smarter, better looking, and more easily distracted by the Internet. ;-)
But consider: suppose my blog polls are usually off by 20%. We’re probably off by more than that on Trump, but he’s a unique and personal case, and my blog is probably uniquely repellent to Trumpists (statistics, evidence, logic, civil discourse… yup! Trump-bane!). Subtract 20 points from my blog poll results on the ballot measures, and V dies (which I can imagine happening, given Republican push against and Democratic disagreement on V), 19 fails with about a 60% vote, and the youth minimum wage fails with an even stronger No vote. That’s strange: I thought RL 19 would be the easier kill, given that its arcanity would enhance its indefensibility, while RL 20 would be tighter, floating around the 55% by which the minimum wage increase passed in 2014, then trading votes between conservatives who either think kids should get lower pay or don’t like the minimum wage in the first place and small-d democrats who are mad at the Novstrups and the GOP for messing with a voter-approved initiative.
I won’t get complacent: I’ll keep pushing the idea that the Novstrups’ youth minimum wage is a bad idea. But if this poll is any indication, that message has already gotten through to more people than I expected.
Related: Remember how I reported in July that the economic data for the first sixteen months of our increased minimum wage showed no signs of harming South Dakota’s unemployment rate, workforce participation rate, or GDP growth? The Bureau of Finance and Management has four more months of data in its South Dakota Economic and Revenue Update, and sure enough, through August 2016, under a minimum wage of $8.55 an hour, South Dakota continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, year-over-year increases in employment (percentage and raw number) in every major sector but manufacturing, a steady workforce participation rate (up a tiny tick this year), and positive year-to-year GDP growth in every quarter since the 2015 minimum wage increase.*
Gee, maybe its not my persuasive force but the sheer strength of the economy dooming the Novstrups’ youth minimum wage to defeat.
*Correction 14:48 CDT: I misread the state’s double-scale bar chart. I regret the error and have revised the chart to better reflect the state’s data.
Vote now in the latest Dakota Free Press poll: Do you support Referred Law 20, which would cut the minimum wage for young workers?
Senator David Novstrup sponsored this wage cut in the form of Senate Bill 177 in 2015. Senator Novstrup and his dad, Rep. Al Novstrup, voted to reduce the minimum wage for workers under 18 from $8.50, the new minimum wage approved by voters in 2014, to $7.50. The Novstrups and their Republican colleagues also voted to exempt this separate youth minimum wage from the annual cost-of-living increase that voters approved in 2014. Governor Dennis Daugaard signed SB 177 into law in March 2015; I petitioned to save kids from that pay cut in 2015 and put it to a public vote in this year’s general election as Referred Law 20.
Voting Yes in this poll and on the ballot means you want to cut the minimum wage for workers under 18 from the current $8.55 to $7.50 and remove the cost-of-living increase for that separate youth minimum wage.
Voting No in this poll and on the ballot means you want workers under 18 to receive the same minimum wage as adult workers—$8.55 this year, $8.65 next year, and so on with annual cost-of-living increases.
Vote now, and tell your friends—we’ll poll until my alarm clock goes off Tuesday morning, when we’ll discuss the results over breakfast.
While we vote, let’s also discuss the political impact of the youth minimum wage on Legislative races. David Novstrup was sensitive enough to political backlash over his sponsorship of the youth minimum wage that he called me a liar for calling his bill an affront to the voters. David chose not to run for reëlection, but his dad Al switched from the House to campaign against me for the Senate seat. Many voters I talk to share my disgust at both Novstrups’ disregard for the will of the voters expressed in the 2014 minimum wage initiative vote.
Do you think voters will reject Referred Law 20, and do you think such rejection will carry over into rejection of candidates who supported it, especially in District 3, which supported the minimum wage hike more strongly than the statewide electorate?
I just spent twelve minutes listening to the podcast of Senator David Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) stammering through his Monday interview with Greg Belfrage about Referred Law 20, Novstrup’s proposal to cut the minimum wage for young workers.
This interview alone should explain why I am so eager to replace David in the Senate and provide District 3 with effective, articulate representation.
Twenty months after proposing his affront to the voters, Senator Novstrup can still barely spit out his rationalization that cutting kids’ wages gives them more opportunities.
Quick show of hands, workers: when your boss cuts your pay, how many of you shout, “Thanks, boss, for the opportunity!”?
Pressed by Belfrage to respond to the argument that his youth minimum wage treats workers differently (I would say, opens the door to age discrimination), Novstrup ad-libs this rhetorical gem:
People say well that’s not fair, those people work just as hard as somebody over eighteen, why can’t —they should get paid the same. Well, if we … think everybody should be paid the same, we should actually regulate that everybody should be paid the same, like, because right now, if you’re working for a business, and you’ve been there five years, and they hire somebody today, how would your listeners feel if they got paid the same wage as they do even though they’ve worked there five years? A lot of people would be very uncomfortable with that, so people I think should be paid on their work experience, are they on time, do they work hard for that employer, that’s how it should be decided, not just because everybody that walks in the door should be paid the same because not everybody has the same experience when they walk in the door [Sen. David Novstrup, interview with Greg Belfrage, “Youth Minimum Wage Would Encourage Hiring Teens,” KELO Radio, 2016.10.17].
Yes, Novstrup is that bad at defending a point. He’s not even talking about the minimum wage any more. He’s pretending that all the people who are going to vote down his Referred Law 20 are voting for some weird Harrison Bergeron socialism. Opponents of Referred Law 20 aren’t advocating a uniform wage; they are advocating a uniform minimum wage, the same basic labor protections for everyone able to labor.
At no point in my advocacy against Novstrup’s youth minimum wage can I recall saying that we should automatically pay a sixteen-year-old new hire the same wage as an employee who’s been on the job for five years. It’s unlikely I’ve said such a thing because I would assume that a reasonable employer will reward any employee who sticks with the company for five years with something more than minimum wage. David’s “example” not only doesn’t apply to the youth minimum wage; it doesn’t exist.
To demonstrate his inability to string together factual arguments, Novstrup offers this inexplicable sentence toward the end of his interview:
The business and the employee would have the discretion in between $7.50 and $8.55 [Novstrup, on Belfrage, 2016.10.17].
The employee has discretion over that wage? What? If a sixteen-year-old doesn’t like the $7.50 an hour Jason Parker wants to pay her to grill burgers in Arlington, she can set her own wage at $8.25?
I’m probably working too hard to find logic in Novstrup’s statements. It’s much simpler to look at his attempted explanation of the youth minimum wage as more feckless word salad tossed on top of a proposal he can’t defend.
The man I will replace in the South Dakota Senate, David Novstrup, continues to recite his tired artifice that cutting wages for young workers gives them more opportunity. Now, in that Sioux Falls paper’s latest report on Novstrup’s Referred Law 20, the quitting Aberdeen senator admits that his hypothesis rests on taking away opportunity from older workers:
The proposal does give employers more options when it comes time to hire, said state Sen. David Novstrup, who introduced the measure. The Republican lawmaker from Aberdeen came up with the idea after having conversations with lobbyists for retailers.
Younger job-seekers would have an advantage over older, potentially more qualified candidates if employers knew they could pay less, Novstrup said.
“The person doing the hiring might be more willing to take a chance on that person,” Novstrup said [Patrick Anderson, “Lower Minimum Wage for Kids? You Decide,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2016.10.14].
Novstrup also admits his proposal was a response to the voters’ decision in 2014 to raise the minimum wage for all workers, but he says undoing the voters’ will is o.k. because voters made a mistake:
Novstrup agrees his proposal was a response to the increase, but that’s nothing against voters, he said. He supports the ballot initiative process. Both legislators and voters are capable of making mistakes, Novstrup said.
“When they put that on the ballot two years ago, they had a specific mission or goal in mind, but that didn’t necessarily craft the best policy for the state, and the voters didn’t really have a choice,” Novstrup said.
I won’t call David a liar, but I will say he’s mistaken. Voters really did have a choice in 2014. They knew full well that Initiated Measure 18 would raise the minimum wage for every worker, including the teen workers whom Novstrup thinks are worth less. They could have chosen not to enact that universal minimum wage increase. Voters debated that issue and chose economic justice over David’s bad arguments.
Anderson shares my statements on the voters’ correct choice and Novstrup’s effort to undo that choice:
“If you are in the workforce, you deserve the same basic workplace protections as everybody else, whether you are 16 or 60,” said Cory Heidelberger, who started the petition drive. “Young or old, black or white, male or female, there’s no reason to have a separate minimum wage for someone who’s willing to show up and work.”
…The attempt to reverse the new law goes against the will of voters, Heidelberger said.
“This is the Legislature saying, ‘We’re in charge, you’re not,’” said Heidelberger, who is running for state Senate this fall. “And they were trying to discourage voters from doing ballot measures in the future” [Anderson, 2016.10.14].
District 3 will enjoy replacing Novstrup’s Newspeak with a Senator who talks straight and respects their will.
Update 10:38 CDT: At least David Novstrup hasn’t resorted to Main Governor Paul LePage’s argument, that sponsors of Maine’s ballot question to raise the minimum wage should be thrown in jail:
“To me when you go out and kill somebody, you go to jail. Well, this is attempted murder in my mind because it is pushing people to the brink of survival,” LePage said of the proposed minimum wage increase.
LePage has argued the wage increase will push the prices of consumer goods and services beyond the reach of retirees on fixed incomes and said he believed Tipping and Chin were committing a moral crime [Scott Thistle, “LePage Likens Advocacy of Minimum Wage Increase to ‘Attempted Murder,” Portland (ME) Press Herald, 2016.10.14].
Let’s hope the Novstrups and the SDGOP don’t start shouting, “Lock him up!”
Ken Santema shot the video from last week’s Brown County Democratic Forum; I did the editing to offer this 80-second nugget on why we should reject Senator David Novstrup’s attack on young workers, the minimum wage, and the ballot initiative process:
Vote NO on Referred Law 20!
Last year Senator David Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) and the Republican majority in the Legislature made the error of undoing the will of the people expressed in Initiated Measure 18, the minimum-wage increase passed in 2014. This year, Sanford Health will be pressuring Senator Novstrup and his colleagues to further disrespect the voters by tinkering with Initiated Measure 17, the Any Willing Provider law that voters passed to require insurance companies to allow any health care provider who can meet their standards to participate in their coverage networks.
Even Republican Pat Powers recognizes that tinkering with successful ballot measures is a really bad idea:
The bill, which was passed, brought outrage in the state’s media, and a petition drive was initiated, where the repeal of a minor portion of the ballot measure was immediately referred for election this year. The fervor of that measure has somewhat died down over the past year, where it might not affect the election fortunes of the measure’s proponents. At least until their opponents remind the voters of it.
That happened when a minor provision was passed to slightly alter the least popular ballot measure from 2014. Anger and near-automatic referral. What do you think the reaction will be for the legislator who might attempt a major alteration of the most popular ballot measure from the preceding election, which had virtually no opposition at the ballot box? Especially coming smack dab in the middle of the election year?
Based on last years’ experience, I suspect it’s going to generate a wave of negative publicity that the legislator probably didn’t contemplate when they put their name on the line to support such a measure. And that could be a wave that might dash them on the rocks in the next election.
In that instance, taking direct aim at the will of the people in such a manner might not just be an unwise thing. It could prove to be downright painful [Pat Powers, “Initiated Measure 17 Repeal effort in the works? I don’t know if I would. The will of the people could prove painful,” Dakota War College, 2016.01.15].
It’s nice to see Powers rediscover his respect for democracy, even if that respect is purely pragmatic and partisan. Powers admits what I discovered while leading that successful referendum petition drive around Aberdeen last spring: voting to repeal the minimum wage increase for young workers could cost David Novstrup his seat this year. Supporting the unraveling of another initiated measure would only reinforce the message that Senator Novstrup and other Republican legislators do not respect South Dakota voters, and as Powers admits, that’s a potent message for anyone trying to unseat an incumbent.
Republicans, you’re in bad enough shape with Referred Law 20 on the ballot to remind voters of your fear of democracy. Take Pat’s advice: don’t make things worse by triggering another referendum on your disrespect for voters.
Just in case Aberdeen students decide all that A-TEC training in auto mechanics, CNC, and med tech isn’t their bowl of gravy, Walmart is starting cashiers at $10 an hour and overnight stockers at $11.50:
If Walmart is saying that cashiers and a.m. stockers should get a minimum wage of $10 an hour, can we reasonably argue that every other worker deserves at least $10 an hour? And with pay like that at Walmart, is it possible that no young worker would have been affected by Senator David Novstrup’s politically motivated youth minimum wage cut to $7.50 an hour?
For perspective, if the statutory annual cost-of-living adjustment to South Dakota’s minimum wage (currently $8.50 an hour) hangs around the past-decade historical average of 2.4%, it will not break $10 until 2022.