Local legislators talk about proposed Iowa Child Labor bill

Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 6:59 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -The League of Women voters hosted a legislative forum this morning, and one of the issues discussed was a child labor law designed to help Iowa’s labor shortage.

The panel met at the Sioux City Public Museum and consisted of 4 republicans and 1 democrat from the Iowa legislature.

The bill would allow 16- to 17-year-olds to serve alcohol on the premises of a business with written consent of a parent or legal guardian. It would also allow kids under the age of 16 to work until 9 p.m. instead of having to leave by 7 p.m. Those hours could be extended until 11 p.m. in the summer months.

Rocky De Witt, a republican for Senate district one, believes it’s too early in the process for him to have a fully formed opinion.

”What little I do know, I want to make sure that there are safety precautions in place, there are some things in the bill that I’m just going to have to disagree with, because of the age or the responsibility of what they’re trying to get done,” said De Witt.

De Witt added that he’s not sure the bill will even get to the senate floor.

House District one representative J.D. Scholten described the bill as the good, the bad, and the ugly.

He credited some changes that were made as good progress, which included keeping kids out of dangerous working conditions.

”I’m opposed to this bill, and I can’t believe we are talking about child labor, when we should be talking about work force development, we should be talking about incentivizing bringing people into this state to fill these jobs,” said Scholten.

After the forum ended a group gathered outside of the museum to protest the bill.