More or less money in teenager’s pockets is at stake when South Dakota voters go to the polls the November.

An increase in the minimum wage for all workers was approved by popular vote in 2014. In response, Referred Law 20 was passed by the Legislature to change the minimum wage for workers under 18 in South Dakota to $7.50 per hour.

Cory Heidelberger who led the petition drive to stop the law feels this countermeasure was introduced too quickly.

“They came with this proposal one month after (the minimum wage law) had been enacted. There was no economic data from South Dakota saying there were any teenagers had lost their jobs nor were any employers disadvantaged because of this change. This was just wishful thinking.”

Almost two years have passed since the minimum wage took effect and Heidelberger says the economic concerns raised by RL 20 don’t match the reality.

“Since we raised that minimum wage, there’s been no dip in our employment, productivity or workforce participation. My pushback is simply, ‘Your economic argument doesn’t have any evidence.’ There’s no sign that any kids are having a harder time getting to work.”

If the voters would pass the law, Heidelberger says the minimum wage for teenagers would be reduced to $7.50 per hour with no cost of living increase going forward.

Heidelberger, a Democrat, is also running for State Senate in District 3 facing Republican Al Novstrup.

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