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Florida bill allowing parents to waive some child labor laws passes Senate

A person tears a labor with the words "Child Labor"
A person tears a labor with the words "Child Labor"

Changes are coming to Florida’s child labor laws.

The Senate approved a House bill Thursday that allows businesses to work minors older than 16-years-old more than 30 hours a week if they obtain parental permission via a state-sanctioned form. A contentious bill that attracted a significant amount of public attention this session, the final version that passed was a significant departure from the measure that was first filed in September.

The original version would have allowed minors 16 and older to work full-time without parent input and removed requirements for work breaks. It also would have allowed children to work past midnight on school nights.

The bill received dozens of public comments opposing it throughout the legislative process and strong opposition by Democrats in the house.

Zephyrhills Republican Senator Danny Burgess, who amended the bill to the version that passed the floor said he was satisfied with the final product.

“Both provisions that are in the bill that we are hopefully about to pass out are proof positive that this is a process and that we listen along the way,” he said.

The changes throughout the process earned an unlikely endorsement from the Florida AFL-CIO, which represents 500 labor unions in the state. Their lobbyist, Rich Templin, thanked Burgess for the changes he made at the bill’s last committee stop, but added that rulemaking by state executive agencies around making the permission form must be done correctly.

“We intend to be there every step of the way, to help guide the process, to help make any changes to the labor law as good for our kids and our parents as we possibly can," Templin said.

The bill is now bouncing back to the House for approval of the Senate's amended version

Tristan Wood is a senior producer and host with WFSU Public Media. A South Florida native and University of Florida graduate, he focuses on state government in the Sunshine State and local panhandle political happenings.
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