Missouri state senate moving bill that would effectively eliminate child labor laws in that state?

Apparently a MO state senator name Jane Cunningham ® has introduced a bill that would alter child labor laws to the point of practically eliminating them in MO.

Link to the bill’s summary.

Apparently it received it’s second reading on Feb 10, and if passed, would go into effect in August.

Primary question/debate: Can someone explain why this could possibly be seen as a good thing. Because as far as I can tell, this is continuing our ride down the slippery slope to third-world status. To me this basically sets labor laws back more than 100 years in this country.

Secondary question/debate: What are Republicans thinking? They spent two years demonizing the Democrats for being too partisan and unwilling to compromise; the voters apparently agreed and swept many Dems out of office. So what do the Pubs do? Legislate from an extremely partisan position and refuse to compromise (see: Wisconsin). Wouldn’t it have benefited them to have made a visible move to the center in order to attract and maintain independent voters in 2012? How is repealing child labor laws going to “win the middle?”

Most Republican primary voters are crazy people. As long as that’s the case, we’re going to get a lot of crazy candidates in the primaries.

Poe’s law in action.

It’s short enough to be quoted in full:

Now if they can just knock down the prostitution and stat-rape laws, they have a gold mine for Missouri’s economy! :slight_smile:

Well, this does not repeal or modify in any way federal child labor laws, which are pretty robust. I don’t see a real problem here.

This might just be a measure to allow minors to do more work in family-owned businesses. Many hotels these days are operated as a franchise. Without more details on the legislative history I won’t know whether to support or oppose this, but in any case it doesn’t seem like a large substantive change.

Well, as far as I can figure the senator in question thought we were not sliding fast enough. I think her next trick will be to bring back the poor houses and debtor prisons.

I gave up on what the Republicans in this state are thinking a while ago. Or seeing any proof that they actually do.

Fortunately we still have a Democratic governor and would veto this if it actually arrived on his desk.

Since this has no bearing on federal child labor laws, as I explained, perhaps you will explain your objections in some way other than animus toward Republicans.

I’ve been working for many years, including some years when I was considered a child. This isn’t illegal, though it is regulated, as you perhaps are aware. And I know of no efforts to change federal child labor laws to any degree by members of any party.

If you know of these efforts, perhaps you will let us all know.

A cursory read of the actual text of the bill makes it seem far less terrifying a picture than the OP paints. It seems that this bill says that children under 16 may not do a whole host of work with a new catch all clause that says that they may not do work that is “dangerous to the life, limb, health, or morals of children under the age of sixteen.”

It seems to get rid of the old permit system for 14 and 15 year olds and gets rid of a bureaucracy that keeps track of kids under 18 in the workplace.

The old law also said that a child at work is evidence that the child is violating the law. It would seem like “take your daughter to the office day” would violate the law in MO as written.

While I don’t know the details, this hardly takes MO back to having children working in coal mines.

It repeals the prohibition on employment under age 14, but what does it replace it with? Does this just mean that now 13 year olds can work, or is it open season for kindergartners?

It repeals several sections and replaces them with two newly written and clarified sections.

The OP is hyperbolic - the sections in question may be bad or good but in no way effectively eliminate child labor laws in Missouri, especially in conjunction with federal law.

The OP linked to a summary of the law instead of to the full legislation - this was likely the source of the hyperbole and an understandable error that should be corrected.

As Jay Leno put it - why should ten year olds in China get all the good factory jobs?

jtgain - do you have any cites for anyone who’s been arrested for “Take your daughter to work day” in MO?

Because I have a cite here that says last year there were 872 violations of the current law.


The majority involved improper work certificates. There were 247 time & hour violations.

Apparently, Cunningham’s solution to the work certificate violations is - not to worry about the children - but to get rid of the certificates & time restricitons. Brilliant! Then MO won’t have any child labor violations. All packaged up nicely in a standard Republican anti-government message.

Mr. Moto - The fact that a Democratic governor or federal labor laws would help blunt some of this Republican stupidity doesn’t mean we ought to refrain from pointing out that it is, in fact, Republican stupidity, stepping high, way, and proud.

This is a bad idea, in and of itself, regardless of other laws and political actions. The Republicans who are pushing for it deserve nothing but scorn.

My first job was at age 11 delivering papers. Loved it and wish kids today had that opportunity. But as far as I know there has been no outcry in this state to allow more children the opportunity to work. If the senator only wanted to expand the options to include motels and such, she could have tailored it for just that purpose. Why bother repealing work permits and inspections for them?

It never hurts to have additional state standards and not rely solely on federal protections. For one, it may be easier to bring civil or criminal actions in state court than federal courts.

Here is the relevant portion of the current statute"

“The presence of any child under sixteen years of age in any place where labor is employed shall be presumptive evidence that said child is employed therein.”

I agree that this is overly broad, but that could be addressed by more specific language, not wholesale repeal.

Well, perhaps it goes too far - these things typically are amended. It seems to me that some tweaking of the process might be in order for younger kids.

After all - some of these kids will work anyway, regardless of certificate requirements and time requirements. I certainly did so at that age, for family members and friends to earn extra money. I have no idea whether Pennsylvania required permits for work at the time - I certainly never bothered with them.

I did at 16, when I was employed in a more formal fashion by a corporation and started paying taxes. In most areas of employment then I was scrupulously obeying time requirements, in others, like helping with a small family business, it was more informal but did not interfere with other activities or things like sleep.

In any case, the OP seemed hyperbolic to me. This in no way is the wholesale repeal of labor laws in Missouri or the US.

Are you Chemical Ali?

Mr. Moto - nothing in the full text of the bill contradicts the official summary, which was posted in full in Post 4.

Also, did you spot the part at the bottom of page 1, which read:

What this means is that the vast majority of stuff in that bill is marked for omission. For example, the first bracket occurs at line 8, page 1 and the close bracket occurs on line 24, page 2. Everything in between, about the work permits, is intended to be stripped out.

Bottom line:

These amendments, by Republican Jane Cunningham, do the following.

  1. Eliminates the prohibition on employment of children under age fourteen.

  2. Eliminates restrictions on the number of hours a child can work

  3. Eliminates restrictions on where a child can work during the day

  4. Eliminates the need for a work certification for children 14-15

  5. Removes the authority of the Division of Labor standards to inspect business that employ children.

  6. Eliminates the need for business that employ children to keep certain records.

  7. Allows children under 16 to work in places where beds are present.

  8. Repeals the notion that children in a workplace are evidence of children working

The bill which Republican Jane Cunningham introduced does all those things. There’s no hyperbole. That’s actually what it says.

For more information:


Mr. Moto: Hyperbolic? Really? Where? What part of the question mark in the OP title did you miss? It wasn’t a statement.

And in the actual OP, show me where’s the hyperbole? I’m simply posting the official summary of a proposed bill, and then asking a couple questions: First, why would anyone think this bill would be beneficial, and then what political benefit could Republicans reap from this? I may have offered up my personal take on what I thought about it, but just because someone offers up an opinion that differs from yours doesn’t make it hyperbole. That seems like a rather lazy attempt to discount another poster’s opinion.

Am I the only one who doesn’t have a problem with 13 year olds working? Nobody is suggesting we force them, lots of kids want to get a summer job when they are in middle school. From what I’ve seen, the best parents encourage their kids to get jobs as soon as their able.

What horrible things will happen if this law is passed?

Ever read Dickens?

The hyperbole comment is ironic, since he went on to say that current laws prohibit “take your child to work day”. Kettle, pot, …