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Democrats, Labor Fight for Youth and Democracy, Join Referendum Push on SB 177

The push to refer Senate Bill 177, the youth minimum wage, to a public vote just got a big shot in the arm from the folks who helped raise the minimum wage in 2014:

The Democratic Party plans a campaign to refer the youth minimum wage law to the ballot, Chairwoman Ann Tornberg said. Teamsters Local 120 also plans to join the campaign, which requires activists to secure 13,871 signatures from registered South Dakota voters and submit them to the secretary of state’s office by June 29 to put the issue on the 2016 ballot.

The state’s AFL-CIO union is expected to join the fight, but Mark Anderson, president and financial secretary, said last week the organization needs to take an official position. Anderson didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday.

Liberal activist Cory Heidelberger already filed a petition in late March to begin such a campaign [James Nord, “SD Democrats, Labor Will Work to Block Youth Minimum Wage Law,” AP via Sioux City Journal, 2015.04.06].

Many volunteers around South Dakota have already been circulating petitions for a full week to challenge Senator David Novstrup’s effort to cut the minimum wage for young workers. These volunteers recognize that Senator Novstrup is attacking the initiative process as much as he is attacking young workers. Volunteers have also been petitioning against Senate Bill 69, which in every provision makes it harder for people to run for office and for voters to have choices on their ballots. These volunteers recognize that both bills threaten democracy.

We should all take heart that the South Dakota Democratic Party and the Teamsters recognize the threat to democracy posed by the youth minimum wage. Let us hope they recognize that same threat in Senate Bill 69 and help carry both referendum petitions.


  1. rwb 2015-04-07 08:36

    Great! More organization and more boots on the ground. Together, we’ll get it done – and I bet on a wider margin than before. A good message to the Republican Legislature and Governor Tool.

    I really think the Republicans shot themselves in the foot on these issues – but especially by overturning the will of the voters. What an incredible opportunity if the Democrats work the plan to tell everyone in South Dakota the Republicans either screwed them or are fixin’ to screw them (the young voters) or scuttled democracy (overturning the will of the voters). South Dakotans don’t like their voice being messed with.

    These are very easy messages for people to understand and every single Democrat press release, statement, memo – every communication should open with that mantra and close with that mantra.

    What a great opportunity! I hope they don’t squander it.

  2. 96Tears 2015-04-07 09:14

    Hey kids, Republicans cut your pay!

    Next time you hear Republicans whine about young people leaving South Dakota, toss it back in their faces that their Governor and their Legislature went out of their way to cut the pay of young people.

  3. Porter Lansing 2015-04-07 11:51

    Student walk outs from class are an outstanding way to protest and raise awareness. Even Saturday protests suffice. Are there any young liberals in South Dakota willing to stand up for their peers and demand equal wages and a petition process? They say it skips a generation and it appears the civil disobedience we displayed in the 60’s and 70’s (which ended the Viet Nam war and it’s oppressive conscription) is about to return, nationwide. All hail USA youth! Liberals are in full support.

  4. tara volesky 2015-04-07 13:58

    These young people in SD worry me. Most have no clue to what’s going on. You can’t even talk politics in HS, and it shocks me how many are not even registered to vote. I am very disappointed to learn the USD students just voted to raise their tuition $400 dollars.

  5. Roger Cornelius 2015-04-07 14:20

    USD students voted to raise their own tuition by $400?

    How in the hell did that happen?

  6. Bob Klein 2015-04-07 14:53

    Students don’t control tuition rates. Fees,maybe.

  7. tara volesky 2015-04-07 16:51

    Bob they did a petition drive among the student body. They got enough signatures to take it to a vote. Well, the scholarship athletes won out. They were told to vote for the increase to pay for the new sports facilities, and get more money for athletics. The majority of the non-athlete students are paying for it.

  8. Douglas Wiken 2015-04-07 17:51

    SD should end all required athletic fees at state institutions. The wizards behind brain-deadening sports might find a lot of students could care less.

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