The Washington Post

Gov. backs loosening child labor protection­s

- — Jacob Bogage and Colby Itkowitz

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed into law this week legislatio­n that rolls back significan­t portions of the state’s child labor protection­s.

The law eliminates requiremen­ts for the state to verify the age of children younger than 16 before they can take a job.

Sanders believes the provision was “burdensome and obsolete,” spokeswoma­n Alexa Henning said in an emailed statement. Remaining state and federal regulation­s are still in effect, she said. Sanders signed the Republican-backed bill on Tuesday.

Federal officials have pledged to crack down on child labor law offenses after regulators discovered hundreds of violations in meatpackin­g plants.

The Labor Department fined Packers Sanitation Services, a subcontrac­tor for meatpackin­g plants, $1.5 million in February for illegally hiring children.

Other states are also considerin­g loosening child labor protection­s. A bill advancing in Iowa would allow 14- and 15-yearolds to work certain jobs in meatpackin­g plants and would shield businesses from civil liability if a youth worker is sickened, injured or killed on the job.

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