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Governor Reynolds signs bill loosening child labor laws in Iowa

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child labor bill

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL)- Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law that would loosen restrictions for child labor laws.

Reynolds announced she signed the bill in a news release late Friday afternoon.

The bill lets teenagers work in some jobs they are currently restricted from doing, such as serving alcohol and operating specific machinery.

The bill raises the time that 14-17-year-olds are allowed to work on school days.

The bill would raise it from 3 hours to 6 hours for 14 and 15-year-olds, and it would also allow 16 and 17-year-olds to work the same hours as adults. However, 3 hours per day is the federal limit for any minor under 16 when school is in session.

"With this legislation, Iowa joins 20 other states in providing tailored, common sense labor provisions that allow young adults to develop their skills in the workforce," Gov. Reynolds said in a statement. "In Iowa, we understand there is dignity in work, and we pride ourselves on our strong work ethic. Instilling those values in the next generation and providing opportunities for young adults to earn and save to build a better life should be available." 

In a letter, the U.S. Department of Labor said the child labor bill would violate federal regulations with the hours children are allowed to work and what jobs they're allowed to have.

The letter also mentions that 14-15-year-olds are only allowed in jobs that the Department of Labor deems safe for minors, and several jobs the bill allows in the letter don't fall in that category. Regulators say they will prosecute businesses that violate federal labor laws, no matter what the state law says.

Even on the debate floor, proponents of the bill recognized there could be challenges from the federal government.

Reynolds also signed HF 318HF 652HF 700, and HF 644.

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