Iowa Republicans pass bill loosening restrictions on child labor

Early Tuesday morning, the Iowa Legislature voted on SF 542, and the measure passed 32 to 17, with all Democrats voting against it as well as two Republicans, WHO-TV reported.

The bill allows 14-year-olds to work six-hour night shifts, 15-year-olds to work on assembly lines moving items up to 50 pounds, and 16 and 17-year-olds to serve alcohol at restaurants with parental permission.

Democrats slammed the bill saying it puts kids in danger by allowing them to work in risky jobs.

“I wouldn’t want my granddaughter serving alcohol or getting an exception to do hazardous work in the name of workplace learning. A workplace accident can happen in the blink of an eye. It takes mere seconds for a red iron beam to fall. Iowans should not be putting our kids, and they are kids, in dangerous situations,” said Democratic state Sen. Janice Weiner.

But according to Republican Sen. Adrian Dickey, the bill is "strengthening and providing protections to our youth."

"We are not forcing them into slave labor. We are not selling our children. We are not even requiring them to work,” he said.