Sunday, March 8, 2015

Getting A Bit Touchy, Are We, Senator Novstrup? I Think Your Youth Minimum Wage Bill Stinks, And I Ain't Hidin' Behind No Computer Sayin' So.

     Touchy, touchy, touchy.  The whining out of Aberdeen from  Republican Senator David
David's Dad GOP Rep Al Novstrup At The Legislature
Is He Arguing To Take Money Away From Kids Who Work?
(photo from
Novstrup at yesterday's cracker barrel there was highlighted by his complaint that "99 percent" of the attacks against him and his business "are said on the internet by people hiding behind a computer."  That's bull, as I and Cory Heidelberger over at Dakota Free Press (nee Madville Times) sure as heck comprise more than 1% of the internet barrage directed at Novstrup and his youth-wage-deflating efforts.   Novstrup, who, with his father District 3 GOP Rep Al Novstrup, operates an amusement zone in Aberdeen that hires people age 16 and olderis understandably more than a little perturbed at us bloggers and assorted internet commandos who've had the temerity to suggest that there might be a conflict of interest involving the Novstrup legislative tag-team's support (Sen. David N. is the prime sponsor) of Senate Bill 177, which would create a minimum wage ($7.50/hour) for workers under the age of 18. That's $1.00/hour less than the one mandated by the voters of South Dakota last Fall, which is $8.50/hour, with automatic cost-of-living adjustments. SB 177 not only reduces the youth minimum wage, it also takes away the COLA. Says Senator Novstrup of the clamor about this on the internet
“Our family has put ourselves out there to serve the people of Aberdeen . . . We’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in Wylie Park that we didn’t have to do and we’ve provided jobs for young people — close to 200 in 20 years. Our business has done nothing but help the community. I don’t care if you like or dislike the proposal, but leave that out of it."  
     Sorry, Senator Novstrup, but I have no intention of leaving "that" out of it, because "that"
Great Place To Play In Aberdeen
Great Place To Work If You're A Kid?  Maybe Not.
(photo from
just happens to be the crux of this conflict that you want us to ignore. From the addendum below it's clear that Senator David Novstrup resolved the conflict in his favor by voting in 2011 for a law that exempts his amusement business from minimum wage requirements.  In the piece from the Aberdeen American News, Novstrup says that even if passed, the bill won't affect local businesses because many places there hire people to start at $9 or $10 an hour. He says he has only one employee under the age of 18, so the bill will have "zero impact on our business."  It's unclear as to how he came up with that "one employee" part--his amusement center doesn't open until April. But I don't see much relevance anyway.  SB 177 gives businesses across-the-board the right to exercise the option Novstrup already has, namely ignoring existing minimum wage requirements.
    The whole point of the minimum wage law that was passed by SD voters last Fall is that it takes away that option in the first place. Novstrup's counterparts in other businesses may not use it now, but it makes a nice fallback for those who hire young workers and can gain some economic leverage over them.  Passing a law that creates conditions that could prove as favorable to the other businesses as it is to the Novstrups makes it possible for them to extend the already favorably resolved conflict of interest to the businesses (including the lobbyists at South Dakota Retailers Association) that support SB 177.  
    Taking the Novstrups' personal business out of the equation doesn't change the odious nature of the bill.  That it gives legions of other employers the authority to stick it to their youngest hirees is bad enough, that it provides no enforcement mechanism to back up the bill's mandate that employers can't fire older, more expensive workers and replace them with youngsters for less money makes SB 177 even more obnoxious.  And as if odious and obnoxious weren't bad enough, the bill's flat out repudiation of what the voters of South Dakota wanted last Fall makes the whole mess stink to high heaven.  

ADDENDUM (added at @1444 3/8/15):  Over at Dakota Free Press, Senator Novstrup calls attention to a South Dakota law (SDCL 60-11-3) passed in 2011 that already exempts his amusement business from the minimum wage law. Senator (then Representative) David Novstrup voted in favor of the law on February 9, 2011.  Get that?  David Novstrup (curiously his dad Al voted against it, possibly concerned about the appearance of a conflict?) voted in favor of a law that exempts his business from minimum wage laws. Was this a conflict of interest or merely the appearance of a conflict of interest? You decide. I already have. Meantime, for all practical purposes, the Novstrups and their exempted business are indeed out of the equation on SB 177, though they stand ready to provide numerous other businesses in South Dakota with the same opportunity to pay young workers less money than their adult counterparts. Some folks sure dislike our young people in this state, don't they?  And P.S. Why do amusement parks get a break on minimum wage requirements for young workers in the first place?   What's so special about them?  


  1. John wait until you see the video from the Aberdeen cracker barrel. You will see the emotions more than what the Aberdeen American News states. Personal attacks argument is about as valid as the argument not to go forward with an ethics board for the legislature or GOAC due to concern of just out to tarnish a reputation. It's all about deflection.

    They are going against the will of the people from the ballot initiative and there is clearly a conflict of interest. I have a feeling most definitely David and hopefully his father will be voted out next election.

    Can you imagine the consequences if SB-177 is signed into law and the voters turn around, fill the necessary petitions and vote in another ballot initiative to overturn SB-177?


    1. Voters overturned Daugaar's illegal education omnibus House Bill 1234, the next session they enacted major portions of it piecemeal because they know the public does not keep up on such things. I can cite numerous other examples of Daugaard opposing the will of the people on other referred issues, he was re-elected overwhelmingly because most of the voters have no idea who the guy is or what he does other than the advertisements these politicians blanket the state with at election time.

  2. I opine SB-177 is the first of what may well prove to be the legislative equivalence of 'death by a thousand cuts'. This session it's workers under the age of 18, next time round the minimum wage won't apply to unmarried workers or women without children.

  3. I am a senior citizen who has been retired for over 11 years. I no longer have a car and rent an apartment and have income from to small pensions and social security of just over 2k per month. I have little bit in the bank but not much by today's standards. I give all of that information as a disclaimer before I say the rest of what I have to say.

    I would rather have seen the legislature put that decreased minimum wage with not COLA on senior citizens. THen we would see how much the minimum and real wages of the rest of the working classes wages would increase, because many of the senior would quit working. mostly the ones who don't need to work or work for their playing around money or the money they need for gambling or other things than the basic necessities of life, which for younger folks with families cost more and more every day.