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GOP Businessman Calls for Referendum of Youth Minimum Wage

Here’s a Chamber of Commerce Republican who will sign a petition to refer Senate Bill 177, the youth minimum wage, to a public vote. Rapid City businessman and blogger John Tsitrian says that modifying the voter-approved minimum wage increase to cut a buck from kids’ hourly pay is arrogant:

The measure was all-encompassing in its wording, ordering “every” employer in South Dakota to pay “each” employee $8.50/hour, with a built in cost-of-living adjustment included in the measure. Seems pretty simple and direct. There are some exemptions, but as a practical matter this affects virtually every employer and employee in the state. That a majority of Republican legislators and Republican Governor Daugaard refuse to understand the words “every” and “each” is a matter of record [John Tsitrian, “SD Dems Would Be Smart to Lead the Charge on Referring the Youth Minimum Wage Law,” The Constant Commoner, 2015.03.24].

…insulting to families…

Daugaard’s casual assumption that the money teenagers earn is of no importance to their families goes against the grain of history and reality.  I know plenty of situations where the money earned by the youngsters in a family is pooled and spent or saved–especially like things for college and vo-tech educations. That’s especially true in a state like ours, filled with family farms and family-operated businesses. The work these kids do and the money they earn for it MATTER, Governor Daugaard [Tsitrian, 2015.03.25].

…and a great chance for Democrats to rally and recruit:

Downtrodden Dems in South Dakota could use a good rallying point, and I can’t think of a better one than finding the 13,000 or so petition signatures that it would take to get the Governor’s willful devaluation of young workers on the November, 2016, ballot [Tsitrian, 2015.03.24].

Dems! Are you listening to Tsitrian? Don’t think of a referendum as a cost; think of it as an investment in youth and the party’s future.


  1. rwb 2015-03-24 16:30

    I have a feeling we’re going to get the opportunity to see what the Democratic party is made of over this issue. And if they do have any vision for strengthening the party in the future.

  2. Ellee Spawn 2015-03-24 16:44

    So… am I understanding this right? Is John circulating a petition… or is there actually a petition in circulation? I need to get my hands on a few and start walking my district.

  3. john tsitrian 2015-03-24 17:05

    Ellee, I’m sponsoring a South Dakota Progress fundraiser on 4/8 in RC and no doubt there will be some petitions there. I’ll be happy to grab a few and get as many signed as possible, though I won’t be so mobile as to be considered a “circulator.” I’ll just make sure people know they can sign them at my home or biz. And thanks for your kind remarks on FB.

  4. Roger Cornelius 2015-03-24 18:38

    If you haven’t read Mr. Tristan’s “Dennis in Wonderland on Constant Commoner, please do so. It is hilarious.

  5. CLCJM 2015-03-24 18:52

    I’ve already been talking about this to anyone who will listen! Daugaard is so arrogant! So are the Republican legislators who undid what we voted for. They were just as arrogant about the legislation that would have given cities the ability to ask the voters to approve sales tax for special projects. They talk about local control until we, the voters, actually want to exercise that control!
    We need to put lots of issues on the ballot, especially these two issues and show them what local control really is and how it works! I’m trying to get some organization going on this. Everyone, please, let’s get some petitions going and show them what WE, THE PEOPLE, demand!

  6. CLCJM 2015-03-24 18:57

    Ellee, I agree! I want to get my hands on petitions. We need to get lots of people working on this but need to coordinate so we’re not doing separate petitions!

  7. Ellee Spawn 2015-03-24 19:00

    Patience. :-) We can’t do anything until legislative session is out.

  8. Jake Cummings 2015-03-24 20:30

    Cory, love that you framed the issue as one of an “investment.” I think liberals need to forcefully and regularly contrast what we feel are prudent investments with what conservatives do.

    I would definitely commit to helping the cause.

  9. Robert J. Cordts 2015-03-25 03:27

    South Dakota should work to lower the voting age to sixteen so “the meddling kids” of South Dakota could have a voice. Most of teenagers work and most of them pay taxes (sales tax). Most of them take on other adult responsibilities like driving motor vehicles. It appears to me that teenagers are not any less in touch with reality than Governor Daugaard.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-25 04:36

    The Scooby Doo Amendment—I like the idea, Robert! Of course, to honor Governor Daugaard’s logic, a 16 year old’s vote will only count for 88% of the vote of an adult citizen.

  11. leslie 2015-04-03 15:54

    “let’s do this people”-rango

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