Youth minimum wage being petitioned

The 2015 legislative session ended on March, 30, and just the very next day people were in Pierre to file for petitions to repeal certain laws. Senate bill 69 and senate bill 117 are both being petitioned.

Senate bill 69 is a bill that essentially allows for more time to review candidate petitions. It revises certain provisions regarding elections and election petitions. Senate bill 117 is the bill that lowers the minimum wage for workers under the age of 18 to $7.50. Both these bills were signed by Governor Daugaard and are set to go into effect July 1.

Cory Heidelberger is the one who filed for the petitions on March, 31. Since then he has had a large amount of support, and he says he has gotten petitions filtering throughout the entire state. Heidelberger says both of these bills are a threat to democracy.

He says senate bill 69 will make it harder for someone to run for office. His concerns continue when looking at how the youth minimum wage bill was handled.

“Just a few months ago in November 2014, we the voters said we want the minimum wage to be $8.50 for every worker. The legislature came back just two months later and said 'no that's not what the voters wanted, we want to change that,” Heidelberger said.

Lawmakers who supported the bill say they weren’t trying to belittle work done by younger people, but rather to create more jobs for them, or keep existing positions.

“There's nothing to say that these people will be hired at a lower wage. Some will still be hired on at $10 or $12 an hour depending on what they are doing, but the point is, if you are seeking summer employment and there is no employment available, your wage is zero, and that's a concern,” Sen. Brock Greenfield of Clark said.

Heidelberger lives in Aberdeen, and he is making his way around Brown County asking for people to sign his petition, but he has people helping him out all over the state.

People can only petition for 90 days after session. This means if by June 29, Heidelberger does not have13,871 signatures for each measure, on July 1 they both will become law.