SIOUX FALLS, SD -
It appears South Dakota voters will get the deciding vote if the minimum wage should increase in the state. Democrats announced they believe they have enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot next year.
"We've collected 25,681 signatures to raise the minimum wage," South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director Zach Crago said.
South Dakota Democrats cheered as they announced they've collected 10,000 more signatures than required by law to put an issue to a public vote. They want to increase South Dakota's minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $8.50.
"We're going to give those folks a small raise with this initiated measure to raise the minimum wage. That's money that they can spend at those small businesses across our state," Crago said.
But opponents of this idea say it could hurt small businesses by forcing them to pay more. That's an issue voter Donald Nordlie says could be a hot topic.
"Potentially yeah, but you know that's all part of commerce, you know," Nordlie said.
Democrats signed the official paperwork to accompany the signatures to Pierre. If enough of those signatures are validated by the South Dakota Secretary of State's Office, the issue will be decided by voters in November of 2014.
The idea isn't new to Pierre. Legislators have voted it down several times. Democrats say they hope putting it into the hands of voters will bring a different result.
"We know if we get it on the ballot, South Dakotans will have that chance to give working people a raise and we think they'll support it in 2014," Crago said.
And now the year-long campaign over the issue is sure to begin.
Democrats started collecting signatures two months ago. $7.25 is the current federal minimum wage.
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