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What's next - Running with Scissors?
The Governor’s roll back agenda is now reaching into the most basic protections for kids – child labor. I was appalled today when representatives from Governor LePage's Department of Labor testified in favor of a bill to eliminate wage and hour protections for Maine youth.
L.D. 516 would permit employers to hire teen workers and schedule them for unlimited hours during the school year That's right. It's just another in a host of bills aimed at taking us back to the bad old days when there were few laws or regulations aimed at protecting the health of Maine children.
Let's not go there. Please contact your legislators and the Governor today.
Maine’s Child Labor Laws were first enacted in 1847, and strengthened repeatedly over the years. The reason? Educators complained that students forced to work long hours outside of school were falling asleep in class.
The current law limiting working hours for 16 and 17 year-olds was forged in 1991 through bipartisan agreement in committee about the need to balance employer interests with the health and welfare of Maine children. Today one former teacher testified about two of her students who worked more than 20 hours a week permitted by law. They were worn out. Distracted. And - no surprise - their grades suffered.
Gutting Child Labor laws does nothing to increase jobs. In fact it will do just the opposite: obstruct students' success in school , and puts their occupational aspirations at risk. It will harm their future.
Contact your legislators - and the Governor - right now and ask them not to take us back 20 years
Tell them passing this bill is unconscionable. It will take us back to the days when students are struggling to stay awake in class