Iowa may sanction relaxed child labor laws 

The Des Moines Register reported that lawmakers in Iowa’s Senate passed a controversial bill Tuesday that would allow minors to work longer hours and work in currently banned roles, according to the Associated Press. 

Supporters of the bill — mainly Republicans — said it would give children valuable opportunities to work and get paid, whereas opponents — largely Democrats — said it would harm children. The measure passed 32–17 in the GOP-controlled senate. The bill requires approval from the Republican-controlled House and from Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds to become law.  

The bill would allow children under 16 to work up to six hours a day, which is two more hours than currently allowed for that age group. It would also allow 16- and 17-year-olds to serve alcohol at restaurants, with written permission from a parent or guardian. 

Democrats and labor unions voiced concerns that the bill would increase the chance of workplace accidents and injuries among youth. The Labor Department says it has more than 600 child labor investigations underway, and officials are concerned about the exploitation of children, particularly migrants who may not even have a parent in the United States.  

The Biden administration this month urged U.S. companies to make sure they aren’t illegally hiring children to perform dangerous jobs after an investigation found more than 100 children working overnight and handling hazardous equipment for a company that cleans slaughterhouses across the country.