House passes bill easing child labor laws

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'Just because our kids like to play Minecraft doesn’t mean we should send them back into the mines.'

Lawmakers took a significant step to relax restrictions on child labor laws as the House passed a measure allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to work more than 30 hours a week and as late as 11 p.m. on a school night.

The 80-35 vote on HB 49 fell mostly along party lines, with Rep. Mike Beltran of Riverview the only Republican to join Democrats voting against it. It came after Republicans rebuffed a series of amendments offered by Democrats to beef up protections for teenage workers.

“This is 2024 this is not the 1900s, this is not the 1800s,” said House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell of Tampa. “Just because our kids like to play Minecraft doesn’t mean we should send them back into the mines.”

But bill sponsor Rep. Linda Chaney, a St. Pete Beach Republican, said the bill merely offered opportunities for teens to work more flexible hours.

“This bill is about choice and opportunity for families. I trust that our families and our teens will make the right choice for them,” Chaney said.

The bill, though, could face difficulty getting through the Senate. The Senate version of the bill (SB 1596) is more expansive, allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to work starting at 5:30 a.m. and until midnight on a school night, but that chamber has also advanced a different, more limited bill (SB 460) that would bar 16- and 17-year-olds from commercial construction sites while allowing them on jobs with scaffolding, roofs and ladders under six feet.

“I fully support our position and looking at it from our perspective and hearing from the public the concern about young people working all hours of the day and night and not sleeping and not getting education,” Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican, told reporters Thursday.

“We want to allow students or kids that want to work to do that but our number one priority is to make sure they don’t sacrifice their education, time and that they have parental consent.”

Gray Rohrer


  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" Ameriecan

    February 1, 2024 at 8:05 pm

    Good evening America,
    All other States should follow Florida’s lead. This legislation will get our Nations youngsters into the work force thus keeping them out of the gangs.
    Excellant crime stopping legislation.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • Angel Fontaine

      February 6, 2024 at 6:08 pm

      OMG…you’re acting as though Brad & Todd will be forgoing their SAT prep courses & football practice to do roofing in the wee hours, when everyone knows it will be 16 yr old Jose & Carlos from Guatemala actually doing the labor. Roofing is quite possibly one of the hardest, most dangerous jobs in construction. And if you wanna talk about other States…Sarah Sanders, Gov of Arkansas, just signed into law, the loosening of child labor laws so child immigrants can work in slaughter houses & meat packing plants! Have you ever been in a slaughter house? These are kids, dude. Just vile.

    • rick whitaker

      February 8, 2024 at 8:22 pm

      earl shitts, you’re wrong .

  • Phil Morton

    February 1, 2024 at 10:30 pm

    Linda Chaney represents a flippable district. Time to get these crazy people out of our legislature.

Comments are closed.


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