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David Novstrup, Creator of Youth Minimum Wage, Gets Ink for Bad Arguments

Jonathan Ellis writes up our successful referendum drives and gives more ink to quotes from the main opponent of one referendum than he does to anyone who wanted to put either bad law to a public vote.

Ellis speaks to Senator David Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen), prime sponsor of Senate Bill 177, now Referred Law 20, the youth minimum wage. Ellis gives Novstrup 49 words in direct quotes to reheat his baloney about how paying kids less means giving them more opportunity…

Sen. David Novstrup, an Aberdeen Republican who sponsored SB 177, said he thought a youth minimum wage was necessary because the inflationary increases to the minimum wage might have priced some youths out of the job market.

“That was going to make it harder for young people – especially people who haven’t had a job before – to get into the workforce and get a job,” he said.

Novstrup noted that his law did not repeal what voters approved in 2014, only added to it. The measure had widespread support from retailers, hotels and other businesses. And the $7.50 youth minimum wage was $1 more than Minnesota’s [Jonathan Ellis, “Youth Minimum Wage, Election Reform Measures Headed to 2016 Ballot,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2015.06.30].

…and about how we supposedly haven’t debated the youth minimum wage:

Novstrup said the referral is part of the process, and that the statewide vote would allow for more debate on the issue.

“There hasn’t really been a debate about a youth minimum wage – if there should be one and where it should be at,” he said [Ellis, 2015.06.30].

Funny: South Dakota never exempted young people from past increases in the minimum wage. We’ve had one minimum wage for all workers for decades, and teenagers seem to have been able to get jobs at Dairy Queen and Thunder Road just fine.

Also funny: Novstrup says with a straight face that he didn’t try to repeal what voters approved; he just added to it. Novstrup here plays word games. Voters said everyone should get at least $8.50 an hour, plus cost-of-living adjustments. Novstrup and his Republican colleagues said not everyone should get at least $8.50 an hour, plus cost-of-living adjustments. Novstrup’s measure took away part of what voters said they wanted. Novstrup can try to get us chasing our semantic tails, but the fact is he undid something voters enacted. He attempted to repeal a specific labor protection for workers under age 18.

Really funny: Novstrup falls back on his false claim that we haven’t debated whether young workers deserve the same minimum wage as other workers. We had this discussion during the 2014 campaign. We’ve debated the minimum wage for young workers, and 55% of South Dakotans said in November 2014, “Give ’em $8.50.” But hey, David, if you want to have that debate again, I’ll be glad to meet you. We’ll debate it again, and my side will win again.

Ellis offers no quotes in opposition to Novstrup’s triple-decker baloney hoagie on Referred Law 20. Ellis offers ten words of direct yet non-specific quote from Libertarian chairman Ken Santema on Senate Bill 69, now known as Referred Law 19—”Senate Bill 69 had a lot of people attacking it.”

And me? Heck, Ellis can’t even spell my name right, let alone seek some enlightenment on the issues. (Ah, but there I go antagonizing the press, when I should be courting their favor as we take two important issues to the 2016 general election!)


  1. happy camper 2015-07-01 09:16

    I can’t spell your name right have the time either. Too many letters!

    His point is valid and yours unfair because the new minimum wage is so much higher than it was before, possibly pushing out the young worker. If memory servers you admitted you were a scrawny kid unworthy of adult wages while doing cement work for Amerts.

    We shouldn’t treat kids the same as adults and have the same expectations. Should we send them off to war then? They can carry a gun just as good or better according to your argument. Should we let them vote too at age 14 or 16? Why not? Or are they different because they don’t have the background, judgement, experience to be a soldier and a voter?

    They carry those same deficiencies to the work world. If you’re saying they don’t, then send em to Afghanistan.

  2. mike from iowa 2015-07-01 09:22

    Now if SoDak would only pay their teachers a dollar more than Minnesota,that’d be something.

  3. 96Tears 2015-07-01 09:23

    Third rate legislator Al Novstrup makes young wage earners feel like second rate citizens. This bottom feeder thinks he’s right 100% of the time and is incapable of respecting others, especially the voters of our state. Spinning lies doesn’t make his case stronger. Fortunately Republicans, Democrats and independents who saw through the anti-wage earner arguments last year will see through Novstrup’s pack of lies and vote again to reinstate the minimum wage hike next year.

  4. Lynn 2015-07-01 09:26

    2016 this should help remind voters why South Dakotans need to clean house in the legislature.

  5. Rorschach 2015-07-01 09:28

    In this battle it’s clear who represents the public interest and who represents the special interests. It’s clear who represents people (who can vote) and who represents the non-people “persons” otherwise known as corporations (who can’t vote).

  6. larry kurtz 2015-07-01 09:30

    Jeff Barth is on the right track after taking my advice to bring a living wage to Minnehaha County.

  7. happy camper 2015-07-01 09:38

    There’s nothing wrong with being a kid. Let em be kids. Why do you want to force them to be something they are not? Your politics are pushing you in to poor judgement.

  8. MOSES 2015-07-01 09:39

    Right law of the land then change it happy camper are you a winger.

  9. larry kurtz 2015-07-01 09:40

    Child labor is the cornerstone of South Dakota’s perpetual last place in everything: let them eat ache.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-07-01 09:51

    Happy, I’ll give him credit for getting “Heidelberger” right. It’s “Cory” that the press keeps messing up with a superfluous “e”. You’d think they’d realize that “Heidelberger” uses up all the e’s, so there aren’t any left for my first name. :-)

  11. happy camper 2015-07-01 09:51

    Left winger most of the time. One of the arguments against legalization of marijuana is kids brains are not developed. Is anyone really arguing that kids brains are not the same? They’re just not at the same place developmentally. We don’t elect 14 year olds to Congress. Most places they can’t get driver’s licenses. Some states till age 18. Adolescents really are their own category. And that’s ok. More than ok, we should have appropriate expectations.

  12. happy camper 2015-07-01 09:54

    Yeah, it always bugs me when I see your name spelled Corey. Even on this blog.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-07-01 10:01

    On substance: we’ve increased the minimum wage before, for everyone, without loss of teen jobs. And when I worked for Amerts, I was 18. If I wasn’t pulling my weight, Dick and Don didn’t need to give me a lower minimum wage; they just needed to fire me and hire someone who knew rebar from roof tar.

    On the size of the increase, check out the figures from this table:

    1. In 1988, South Dakota’s minimum wage went up 19.6%.
    2. In 1997, it went up 21.2%
    3. From 2006 to 2009, it went up 13.6%, 12.0%, and 10.7% each year for a total three-year jump of 40.8%.
    4. On January 1, 2015, SD’s minimum wage increased 17.2%.
    5. If we assume 3% cost-of-living increases for the next two years, the three-year increase from 2014 to 2017 will be 24.4%

    The voters approved a minimum wage increase that is not out of line with past adjustments and thus should not have provoked any new concerns about youth employment.

  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-07-01 10:05

    96, note that David is the prime voice of SB177/RL20, not Al. Representative Al Novstrup peddles the same wrong arguments as his son Senator David Novstrup offers on the youth minimum wage, but I get the impression Rep. Al could at least express them more forcefully. I thus welcome the SDGOP to continue putting David forward as the voice of their worker discrimination bill.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-07-01 10:07

    And there’s that odd “forcing kids to be something they are not” argument again. I’m not forcing kids into any role they don’t want. I’m saying that if parents do choose to let their kids enter the workforce, those kids deserve the same labor protections as anyone else responsible enough to enter the workforce. That includes the same minimum wage to mitigate exploitation of workers by their bosses.

  16. happy camper 2015-07-01 10:13

    But from a different angle I could make the charge you’re behaving like a Right Winger and pushing adult responsibilities down. Being perfectly consistent in my liberal views I accept differences. Embrace them and say let’s create age appropriate work. Not always too demanding, not always highly paid, but encouraging with the right-sized building blocks for a life time of work to come.

  17. Diana Barrett 2015-07-01 12:28

    Well, if your a parent, you know you give your kids money all throughout the summer. Snacks, pop, misc. stuff that they think they need everyday. So if your teenager is working, making the same wages an adult is making, maybe mom and dad will get to hang on to some of THEIR hard earned money. If the parents and kids are smart, some of the money the kid makes will go into a savings acct. possibly for a used car and/or college, or just for fall when the kid needs new clothes, shoes, supplies for school, gas money, lunch money,…whatever comes up. The parents might be able to put some of their money into the bank for a change, shocking idea, since a lot of parents might not have any retirement money saved up, or maybe an extra car payment, house payment, dental work, whatever!

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-07-01 14:11

    Gad, those pictures offer some insight as to the images the flash through the GOP’s mind when they say “opportunity for young workers.”

  19. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-07-01 14:13

    No, you couldn’t argue that, Happy. I’m not pushing adult responsibilities down. The folks putting their kids in the workforce are pushing those responsibilities down. I’m saying that once folks have made that choice, young people deserve the same protections in the workplace as old people.

    And nowhere am I advocating highly paid work for kids (though I won’t stop an employer from rewarding kids for great performance with higher pay). Again, I’m just talking about the floor we set to prevent exploitation of any worker.

  20. happy camper 2015-07-01 15:33

    Age appropriate work and age appropriate pay: that’s my position and why I’ll vote no. If a strapping 17 year old can strip shingles with the big boys then his boss should pay him the same, which is gonna be well above $7.50 an hour anyway, but if younger workers are doing menial tasks don’t price em out of a job. Those good-old-days images should remind us we need sufficient regulation for an age group that are not adults: not in thinking, behavior, or maturity.

  21. mike from iowa 2015-07-01 15:45

    The sky is falling-SQUAWK!!!-the sky is falling-SQUAWK!!!

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-07-01 18:06

    Hang on, Happy—remember that if you support a lower minimum wage for young workers, you vote yes on Referred Law 19. If you want the same minimum wage for everyone, you vote no.

    But wait: why price anyone out of menial tasks with a “high” minimum wage? Why assign those menial tasks only to children? Why ask anyone to do as work any task whose economic value is not enough to pay a wage that would pay for the worker’s basic needs?

  23. happy camper 2015-07-01 18:43

    This is not about the proletariat. These are dependent children in a country with a high standard of living. I understand you want to frame this about equality as part of a platform, but it won’t go far. People are over this us versus them thing. They’re ready for good-natured candidates who can bring people together rather than separate. Regardless of D or R or I people in the middle have much in common. Don’t call each other bad names if you want their vote. Most people want peace brother not angry rhetoric.

  24. MJL 2015-07-01 21:20

    What is the definition of “menial”? Is someone that is asked to stand in the sun for hours at an amusement park serving drinks or pushing carts any less menial than a person holding flags for a road crew? The flagger will get paid a lot more and usually can’t be someone under 18. Why should an 18-year old who is working for the first time get paid more than a 17-year old working for the first time at B&G’s ice cream?

    This referendum is not an us versus them issue, but a voter versus legislative body that refused to abide by the law and have to resort to rhetorical nuances to justify why they changed the law of the people.

  25. Roger Cornelius 2015-07-01 23:43

    Dang Cory, Why did you explain Referred Law 20 to Happy Camper, we had in locked in for a needed NO vote.

    If I’m following HC’s logic correctly, are kids that are just being kids required to work as hard as those that earn $8.50 per hour?

  26. Jake Cummings 2015-07-02 05:56

    Definitely glad you and the rest of the team were able to get this on the ballot, Cory.

    I fear that a considerable number of voters may apply Happy’s logic, to which I would ask — what about the kids whose income helps support their family? Also, how can the state justify possibly paying youth a lower wage AND decrease state aid to higher ed. (with the exception of certain Daugaard-approved programs), thereby ensuring that the youth and/or their families must pay more out of pocket and likely take on additional debt?

    I think the SDDP could gain more traction with the higher ed. argument.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-07-02 07:00

    People want good-natured candidates instead of serious policy discussion? Then we’re doomed. Why can’t people accept the idea that good nature could motivate serious analysis and criticism? This ain’t feel-good television, people—this is your community, your democracy, the sacred trust left to you by our Founding Fathers, who didn’t let their good nature stop them from responding to the King’s policies by shooting Redcoats.

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-07-02 07:09

    I’m glad MJL reminds us that even if Happy were right about the justness of paying kids less (he’s not), he should still vote NO on 19 on the political argument, that the Legislature passed the unnecessary youth minimum wage to beat back citizen ballot measures.

    But I will still fight to change people’s minds. Every worker deserves at least the minimum wage. I see no need to qualify that statement with age, sex, race, or other categories. Any differences in ability or performance should be addressed by adjustments in pay above that minimum wage. The South Dakota Retailers Association should not get to create any class of workers whom they can exploit for less than the minimum wage.

    Jacob’s argument will help if we can get a higher turnout from lower-income voters who can’t afford to spoil their kids, whose working children are in fact supporting the purchase of essentials. People’s wages should never be contingent on our assessment of the moral worth of their purchases, but we’ll have to go there. The state, at least should not be making the blanket assessment that all kids deserve less pay just because we suspect that (1) all kids spend their money frivolously and (2) the experience kids get is more valuable than money. The former is none of our business. The latter is arrogant condescension; experience doesn’t buy groceries or pay tuition. On that point, yes, let’s roll with a higher ed/student debt argument. We’re beating back student debt without spending any tax dollars.

  29. leslie 2015-07-02 07:54

    gad’s photos from that damn liberal rag, the atlantic threaten to “rewrite history” of those good old days

  30. Les 2015-07-02 08:55

    “””I’m glad MJL reminds us that even if Happy were right about the justness of paying kids less (he’s not), he should still vote NO on 19 on the political argument, that the Legislature passed the unnecessary youth minimum wage to beat back citizen ballot measures.””” Why did you not just say that in the beginning Corry? There is no other argument to the referral.

  31. happy camper 2015-07-02 09:06

    His name is Cory!

  32. mike from iowa 2015-07-02 09:17

    Wingnuts force kids to be born. That is the only advantage/favor they will ever get from wingnuts.

  33. happy camper 2015-07-02 09:50

    There are wingers on both sides: left wingers, right wingers. We need more stats on South Dakota voters. Ignore the bell curve to your peril.

  34. mike from iowa 2015-07-02 10:51

    So called left-wingers are less radical,less loisy,less visible and have no political power anywhere in any state gubmint. They also err on the side of caution when it comes to exploiting dog’s green earth of non-renewable resources. Right wing nuts believe everything is there for the 1% to take now and the hell with the future.

  35. Les 2015-07-02 11:06

    LOL, Happy. Ok, so not Corry, Correy, Cori, Corri, Corey but just Cory! Yes I know and consider Cory a great friend, not a personal friend but one of those friends who would come out of the darkness if he knew your needs and make a difference and not just for you or I by any stretch of the imagination.

    This is a really interesting dialogue here. Happy is probably more liberal that most conservatives could stomach. How is it I agree with him so often while the libs here love to eat his a$$.

    Anyway Happy, vote yes and work to change the law if you don’t like it. It was voted on and passed. This is not about the kids now.

  36. happy camper 2015-07-04 13:57

    Legislators changing voter law is a problem. I was looking the other way cause I agreed with them, but it would be interesting to know the law on what governs them. Can they just “modify, improve, change, alter, etc.” laws that have been brought in by the voters themselves? I’m confused.

    I suspect Les is a moderate. Not always liked around here. Radicals, relative term, like other radicals. They need the validation!!!

  37. mike from iowa 2015-07-04 15:45

    Good one,Jerry. As far as wingnuts go,Pol Pot and Kublai Khan seem rather Liberal by comparison.

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