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Legislature Votes to Cut Youth Pay; Time to Call the Governor!

Young readers, two numbers:

$1.00 is the pay cut you will take if South Dakota’s Legislature has its way. Last November, South Dakota voters said all workers should get a minimum wage of $8.50 an hour, with an automatic yearly raise to keep up with the cost of living. On January 1, that raise took effect.

But yesterday, the House approved Senate Bill 177, which sets the minimum wage for workers under 18 at $7.50 an hour, with no annual cost-of-living adjustment. That means if you’re under 18 and you’re working for minimum wage right now, on July 1, your boss can cut your pay by $1.00 an hour. If you’re working 30 hours a week at Thunder Road for David Novstrup (you know, Senator Novstrup, the guy who sponsored this bill), you lose $30 a week, all because Novstrup and his dad/boss Rep. Al Novstrup and several other Republicans believe your time and work aren’t as valuable as everyone else’s. And without the cost-of-living adjustment, the gap between what you and your younger brothers and sisters can earn and what adults get for doing the same work will only get worse.

605-773-3212 is the number you can call to stop this pay cut. 605-773-3212 is Governor Dennis Daugaard’s number. Having passed the Legislature, SB 177 now needs the Governor’s desk, and he says he hasn’t made up his mind on cutting your pay:

But Daugaard hasn’t taken a position yet regarding the $7.50 youth minimum wage, according to his chief of staff, Tony Venhuizen.

“He will be listening to the debates and considering it over the next several days,” Venhuizen said [Bob Mercer, “House OKs Youth Minimum Wage, But Governor Undecided,” Rapid City Journal, 2015.03.04].

Understand, protecting your minimum wage may not be an easy sell:

During the fall election campaigns, Daugaard said he opposed the ballot measure that increased the state minimum wage to $8.50 on Jan. 1 from $7.25 and added an annual inflation adjustment.

Daugaard said then he didn’t believe in a minimum wage [Mercer, 2015.03.04].

But calling the Governor to protect your pay and your basic rights as a worker is worth a shot. If we can persuade the Governor to respect you young workers and the will of the voters, we can avoid having to refer this bad law to a public vote.

Save that dollar. Call the Governor. Tweet the Governor. Get your friends to call and Tweet the Governor.

And if that doesn’t work, remember who voted for cutting your pay, and come help us vote to fire those people in 2016.


  1. mike from iowa 2015-03-05

    Wonder what the pay scale is for a fetus? More than children under 18,I’ll bet.

  2. crossgrain 2015-03-05

    Mike – Pregnant women 18 and older will be entitled to $16/hr since the fetus will be working as well. Pregnant women 17 and under will receive $15/hr. Once the baby is born, it doesn’t matter. Both will be fired because paid family leave is for chumps.

  3. Craig 2015-03-05

    Why the disrespect for the will of the people? The arrogance of our legislators is simply amazing – do they think the voters won’t remember this?

    Oh I forgot – people go into to ballot box blind in SD so Republicans know they can pretty much do whatever they wish with zero ramifications.

    Enjoy it while you can GOP… what could possible go wrong with disenfranchising the youth? It isn’t like they will turn 18 and vote one day right?

  4. bearcreekbat 2015-03-05

    Thanks for the info Cory! I called today and urged the veto. (P.S. – there is a single typo in the thread that says the Governor’s number is 605-773-6212 – it should be 773-3212 as indicated several times in the rest of the thread)

  5. mike from iowa 2015-03-05

    bcb-you ever belong to a diplomatic corps? Maybe a hostage negotiating team,maybe? Just curious is all.

  6. bearcreekbat 2015-03-05

    mfi – No I didn’t belong to either. But I told the person who answered the telephone for the government that I was a long time registered Republican, so I am sure my urge for the Governor to veto the wage bill will be given great weight!

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-05

    Thanks for the call and for the correction, Bear! I have struck that errant 6 and written the correct number.

  8. Roger Cornelius 2015-03-05

    I made the call, they are kind of rude.

  9. scott 2015-03-05

    This state struggles to keep our youth and college graduates. As a state we should be doing everything we can to make this state appealing for our youth and college graduates. Creating a lower wage is just another way we drive away our young people. Then as a state we turn around and spend tax dollars trying to attract workers to this state.

    It would be much cheaper and as a state we would be much more successful if we worked to retain our young residents. Even if no single employer utilizes the lower $7.50/hour wage, it is the image and message that is being sent to not only our young residents, but to all SD residents that SD does not want to pay living wages. As a state we instill the message to so many that low wages are the acceptable norm.

  10. rollin potter 2015-03-05

    It is okay for the representative from my district to receive $608,816.95 in the form of government payments from 1995 to 2006 but he don’t think the under 18 slaves should receive the same minimum wage as everybody else!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. mike from iowa 2015-03-05

    The state doesn’t want to pay workers or keep graduates,it makes it that much easier for korporate amerika to hire illegal immigrants for even cheaper wages to add to their bottom lines. Profits come first because w/o profits the 1% wouldn’t be wealthy. Jobs take care of themselves.

  12. Tim 2015-03-05

    mfi, I thought they wanted to deport all those illegals?

  13. mike from iowa 2015-03-05

    They want you to think that,Tim,but who really would do those jobs at those wages? It is just a facade-like we abhor abortion (unless you are wealthy enough to pay for it yourself,wink,wink.)

  14. Tim 2015-03-05

    Yeah I know Mike, same old stuff just a different republican.

  15. Tim 2015-03-05

    Does anybody if we can refer this if the Governor signs it? Seems like a huge waste of resources to have to refer a law that has already been referred and voted on.

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