Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The War On South Dakota's Youth Continues. First We Won't Pay Their Teachers A Respectable Wage. Now A Bunch Of Senators Are Pushing A "Workforce Discrimination Against Young People" Act.

     What is it with some South Dakota Republicans in the legislature? Apparently they can't
Senator Novstrup
He Wants SD To Discriminate Against Young Workers
Capitol Phone # 605-773-3821
Click HERE To E-Mail
(photo from
take last November's passage of the minimum wage law without staging some sort of pushback against the voters of this state for having the temerity to go against their party's vigorous opposition. After GOP State Rep Jim Bolin this week lost badly (he was trounced in the Republican-dominated House, yet, 54-14) in his quest to tinker with the minimum wage law's automatic cost-of-living adjustment,  a bloc of Republican senators, led by David Novstrup of Aberdeen, have decided that South Dakota (Senate Bill 177) should discriminate against young workers by reducing the recently passed minimum wage paid to those under 18 years of age by a buck an hour, taking it from $8.50 to $7.50
. And just to make sure that young people get the point that their labor isn't appreciated as much as the work of their older counterparts, they won't get an automatic cost-of-living-adjustment, either.
     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 "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."  


  1. Yeaph, to reference the old saw, South Dakotans have the best legislature money can buy.

  2. The notion that people under 18 aren't as good of workers as those over 18 is a poor excuse for this type of legislation, in reality it's just a way for the employer to save a few bucks at the expense of a young person trying to earn some cash. Here in South Dakota we are a so called "right to work" state, an employer can fire any employee, at any time, for any reason. If a young person isn't making the grade, and isn't earning his wage, the employer can fire the slacker whenever he feels like.

    Nick Nemec

  3. Note to readers: I inadvertently deleted this comment from Michael Sanborn--"Nice." Sorry Mr. Sanborn

  4. Additionally, by sending the implied messages above to our youth, and making it harder for them to see financial success in our state when they first join our workforce, are we not driving the most promising minds and productive workers out of our state? Likely for good?

  5. Mr "T," You are missing the RINO in the room. This is a conflict of interest bill. Little "Mush-Mouth" Davie Norstrup and his dad have amusement parks where their main employees are the very young people they attempt to deprive of this mandates salary. This bill was brought by them to serve their own selfish interests. It's not the first time the Norvstrups have sponsored bills to feather their own nests.

    The Democrats in the legislature are too weak to provide the necessary two party criticism, even as they watch their own key staff members get bounced for lessor conflict.

  6. Fly makes a salient point. There are many businesses operating in the Novsrup home area for which exploitation of young workers is an essential part of their business model. My kids all had jobs while in high school, and some were openly hostile and derisive about their school work. One fast food place which had failed some sanitariy inspections consistently made school kids work far into the night on major cleanup, although it had adult workers who opined that such work was "brat work." There are a number of places where I and some of our friends will not patronize because of the way they regard and treat young workers. Still Novstrup wants to legislate "training wages" for young workers who carry the major workload at many businesses.

  7. Seems this law will just give Jackley another chance to defend the state, if they pass this somebody should sue for discrimination.

  8. This bill would literally take candy from a baby.