Fight To Raise Minimum Wage Continues
by Betsy Jibben, Reporter
October 13, 2013 4:00 PM
Nineteen states have a higher minimum wage than $7.25 an hour and some want to add South Dakota to that list. Since Labor Day weekend, The South Dakota Democratic Party has been traveling the state with petitions to raise the wage. Around three weeks are left before the petitions are due.
The South Dakota Democratic Party and over 1,000 volunteers have a deadline to raise South Dakota's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour. They need to collect 15,855 signatures before November 4. It’s a number that's been burning in Zach Crago's mind.
"We have seen an enormous outpouring of support for our initiated measure to raise the minimum wage," said South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director, Zach Crago.
The South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director stayed tight-lipped about how many signatures they've gotten. But he says right now, they're on track for success.
"We are exceeding our goals every day and I'm very confident that we'll get to the 15,000 signatures from registered voters," said Crago.
The organization's goal is to build an economy that works for everyone. For them, that means going door to door, recruiting and spreading the message.
"Sixty-two thousand people across this state will earn more with this initiated measure across the state," said Crago.
If the initiated measure passes, it doesn't necessarily mean minimum wage will stay at $8.50 for years to come.
"That means every year when the costs of food and living goes up, so does minimum wage. That's something working people expect. We see that in social security and we need to see that in social security too,” said Crago.
If the group collects enough signatures, the issue could end up on the 2014 general election ballot. If passed, the raise wouldn't change until January of 2015.
Crago says they have been receiving positive feedback from both the Democrat and Republican parties. In 2007, the minimum wage in South Dakota was $5.15 an hour. The last time it was raised was in 2010.