Iowa GOP Governor passes bill 'loosening child labor laws' after banning LGBTQ+ books from schools
Iowa Republican Governor Kim Reynolds passed legislation loosening child labor laws in the state this week.
Those against the new legislation, per CNN, say "it could not only endanger the safety of children but would also target teens from lower-income and minority backgrounds."
This comes after the governor also just passed legislation banning teachers "from raising gender identity and sexual orientation issues with students through grade six," NBC reports, which includes removing "books depicting sex acts" from school bookshelves.
LGBTQ equality group One Iowa Director of Policy and Advocacy Keenan Crow, said of the bill, "Like many other pieces of her agenda, this legislation punches down on a vulnerable group of kids, and it benefits no one."
Regarding the child labor legislation, CNN reports:
Under the newly signed law, 14- and 15-year-olds are allowed to work two additional hours per day when school is in session, from four to six hours. They are also able to work until 9 p.m. during most of the year and until 11 p.m. from June 1 to Labor Day, two hours later than previously allowed. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds are now permitted to work the same hours as an adult.
The Des Moines Register reports "In practice, that means factory jobs, farm jobs, jobs requiring heavy lifting or other roles that ban child labor due to dangers inherent in the job will be open to 14 year olds and up, so long as somebody involved can call it job 'training.'"
Additionally, the bill "gives authority to the directors of the education and workforce development departments to provide an exception to the work hours and some of the prohibited work activities to teens 16 and older who are enrolled in a qualified work-based learning program."
Reynolds said in a statement, "With this legislation Iowa joins 20 other states in providing tailored, common sense labor provisions that allow young adults to develop their skills in the workforce."
The Washington Post reports "the loosening of child labor laws" will have a major impact on workplace safety.
Referring to a similar law recently passed in Arkansas that removes "the need for work permits for children younger than 16," University of Arkansas School of Law’s Human Trafficking Clinic Director Annie B. Smith told The Washington Post, "Not knowing where young kids are working makes it harder for [state departments] to do proactive investigations and visit workplaces where they know that employment is happening to make sure that kids are safe."
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