Today the Obama Administration and the Department of Labor withdrew their proposed child labor law, which would have significantly limited what farm and ranch work a person under 16 years of age could participate in. This is a HUGE win for agriculture and rural communities across the country!!
The Labor Department's statement:
“The Obama Administration is firmly committed to promoting family farmers and respecting the rural way of life, especially the role that parents and other family members play in passing those traditions down through the generations. The Obama Administration is also deeply committed to listening and responding to what Americans across the country have to say about proposed rules and regulations. As a result, the Department of Labor is announcing today the withdrawal of the proposed rule dealing with children under the age of 16 who work in agricultural vocations. The decision to withdraw this rule – including provisions to define the ‘parental exemption’ – was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms. To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama Administration. Instead, the Departments of Labor and Agriculture will work with rural stakeholders – such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Future Farmers of America, and 4-H – to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices.”
How much of this is genuine concern over the nation's reaction to the proposed rule, and how much is election year hype, is a little questionable. But, at least it happened. I was thrilled to hear it, and sincerely hope they meant what was said about not ever pursuing it again during the Obama Administration.
Yay for good news on the political front! Hasn't been a whole lot of that recently. Also a huge thank you to all the people who wrote comments, contacted their elected officials, worked on the political front lobbying against it, worked on it through their careers, or helped in any other way!
I'm so glad I won't be breaking the law when I make my kids work someday.