The Tea Party side shows, Conservative pundits and psycho politicians are really becoming dangerous in America. We have child labor laws for a reason. Please, help me. Are therapists being overworked?
State Sen. Jane Cunningham says her quest to change Missouri's child labor laws is driven by her belief that the current restrictions are "implying that government can make a better decision than a parent."
But Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, takes exception to critics who contend that her proposed changes, contained in SB 222, would put children younger than 16 in danger.
Cunningham cites a series of provisions in her bill that bar children younger than 16 from working in certain professions or workplaces deemed dangerous, such as mines, quarries, stone-cutting or plants manufacturing explosives.
As it stands, current Missouri law bars regular employment of children younger than 14 -- except in specific professions such as acting -- and imposes strict restrictions on employed children age 14 and 15, including the hours they are allowed to work. Children age 14 and 15 must obtain signed permits from the school they attend.
Cunningham said that she believes it's improper to saddle schools with the responsibility of deciding whether a child younger than 16 should be allowed to work. She also contends that many parents and their children already are violating the state's current labor laws, which she says are "so over the top'' and prevent parents from "teaching a work ethic to their children."
She cited her own two sons, who she said raised their own money as young teens so that each could buy a car when he turned 16. Now adults, both valued the work ethic they learned, she said.
The critics point to the bill's official summary:
"This act modifies the child labor laws. It eliminates the prohibition on employment of children under age 14. Restrictions on the number of hours and restrictions on when a child may work during the day are also removed. It also repeals the requirement that a child aged 14 or 15 obtain a work certificate or work permit in order to be employed. Children under 16 will also be allowed to work in any capacity in a motel, resort or hotel where sleeping accommodations are furnished. It also removes the authority of the director of the Division of Labor Standards to inspect employers who employ children and to require them to keep certain records for children they employ. It also repeals the presumption that the presence of a child in a workplace is evidence of employment."
Cunningham's objections extend to the current law's requirement that children 14 or 15 work no more than three hours a day on school days, no more than eight hours on a non-school day, and that they cannot work before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
"The hour restrictions are so tight,'' she said. "There are many jobs where you can work after 9 p.m.,'' such as restaurants.
She also objects to allowing the state's director of Labor Standards to walk into businesses to check on their employment of children.
As time goes by, her reasons become wackier and wackier. Reminds me of Sharron Angle. I truly believe people don't know who they are voting for anymore:
Cunningham views Missouri’s laws, which limit the number of hours young people can work and ban them from working past 9 p.m., as an intrusion on parents' rights.
Actually, they are a help to parents. Without those restrictions, you have a scenario in which Susie, 13, is working at a sub shop. She has homework and she’s supposed to get off at 8 p.m., but the shift manager needs her to stay and close up because Fred didn’t show up for work. Susie calls her mom, who protests, but the boss is adamant and Susie really wants to keep her job so mom agrees, just this once. And pretty soon “just this once” becomes the routine.
I have watched this happen with a 16-year-old, and only the labor laws keep employers from demanding unreasonable service from the under-16 workforce.
Cunningham has a profound dislike of government, and thinks it does almost nothing right. But child labor laws are a good thing, and Cunningham isn’t likely to find many allies in her strange quest to change them.