He Wants SD To Discriminate Against Young Workers
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(photo from legis.sd.gov)
You know, I thought we had laws against age discrimination in this country. Why they don't apply in this case is a legal and statutory matter that should be addressed by the co-sponsors of this bill. There's certainly a lot of inconsistency here when it comes to dealing with young people in other areas. For one thing, the age of sexual consent is 16 in this state. Juveniles as young as 10 can be tried as adults. The U.S. military forces are willing to take people as young as 17 into their ranks. In my own businesses I've had people younger than that doing the same work that my adult employees do. They all get paid the same. If they can cut it, great. If not, they're gone. Age is no consideration. Output is.
What this proposed law is telling young people is this: there's an a priori assumption that their labor, as a class, is not as market-valued as that of their adult peers. I believe this is bunk, and I believe that young people who are subjected to this age-based discrimination have a beef with those who automatically label them as less worthy of the standard minimum wage just because of their ages. I understand that from reading Mercer's piece, linked above, SB 177 is supported by the South Dakota Retailers Association, which, according to Mercer, has "truly excelled" in the legislative forum for more than a decade. That SDRA chooses to discriminate against young people as a class comes as no surprise, considering they vigorously opposed the minimum wage initiative last Fall. That they couldn't "excel" in the venue of public opinion known as "the ballot," where their efforts were beaten decisively, is a matter of record. That it leaves them only one option for exercising their influence, the legislature, is a matter of little surprise. That they've "excelled" at this endeavor tells us much about our state legislators.
Addendum: added 2/11 @0944. By the way, I understand that "discrimination" is a harsh word in all its denotative and connotative senses, but SB 177 fits every definition of that word I've ever seen. Here's one from dictionary.com: "treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit."