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?