Gov. Walker is so eager to rollback child labor protections in Wisconsin that he has designated Assembly Bill 25/Senate Bill 11, which would eliminate the permit process of child workers age 16 and 17, as an “emergency bill.” He is using this rarely used procedure to get around the normal legislative rule that no fiscal bill can be passed before the budget. This “emergency” is actually just a blatant assault on both parental rights and legislative norms designed to weaken child labor law. The bill is moving forward and will be voted on in the Joint Finance Committee this Monday. Where is the emergency, Gov. Walker?
The bill eliminates parental sign off for children 16 and 17 years old, giving employers direct access to child labor. Supporters of the bill claim that the signature requirement is a hurdle that keeps some kids out of the workforce. In reality, if no parent or guardian is available, a DWD officer can sign off for a child worker. These officers are funded by a $10 permit fee paid by the employer. A portion of the fee also goes to the state’s General Treasury. By eliminating this fee, Republicans are cutting funding for the enforcement of child labor laws and at a time when every penny counts needlessly reducing state revenue.
Stop the slippery slope of weakening child labor protections. Contact your lawmakers today and tell them you support strong child labor protections in Wisconsin. Get your comments in by Monday’s JFC hearing.
This is the second time since 2011 that Scott Walker and Republicans have weakened child labor law in Wisconsin. Gov. Walker’s 2011 budget eliminated most of the protective limits on hours, days per week, and times of day employers can schedule minors 16 years of age or older, essentially treating them no differently than adults.
Every parent knows that a first job can teach a kid responsibility and independence, but parents need to be a part of the employment conversation. We have the right to sign off on our kids work. Stand up for strong families, parental rights and strong child labor laws in Wisconsin. Tell Scott Walker and his allies in the legislature to stop this end run around the rights of Wisconsin parents.