Digging Deeper


Roberts suggests feds 'take a big pill of common sense' on child labor plan

Some farm country congressmen are getting serious about batting down those controversial child labor regulations that would keep kids under 16 from doing farm work.

In bills introduced in both the House and Senate, the U.S. Department of Labor would be barred from enacting the plan it crafted and introduced months ago.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to the Labor Department, as it has already backed off some of the provisions of the proposal after an outcry from farmers, ranchers and their advocates. As I reported earlier, the plan received 18,000 public comments and a letter signed by 98 congressional representatives.

That’s what you get when you suggest that kids under 16 shouldn’t drive a tractor, work around animals or handle pesticides on their parents’ farm. That’s heresy in farm country.

As I reported last month, the feds softened their stance on the plan, offering a rewrite to include a broader definition of the parental exemption to the rules.

But that didn’t go far enough for Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts, both Kansas Republicans, who are co-sponsors of the bill.

“We all know running a farm involves the entire family, so we need the Department of Labor to take a big pill of common sense and back off,” Roberts said.

A similar bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, and can be found here.

What do you think? Should the government drop this plan? Or should the government do more to protect kids in some of the most dangerous jobs?

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