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Indiana Lawmaker Wants to Repeal State’s Child Labor Laws, Which Could Benefit His Business

Indiana Republican state Sen. Chip Perfect wants to scrap what he calls the state’s “antiquated” child labor laws, but critics question his motivation since he owns a ski resort employing 300-to-400 minors.

Now, minors are limited to the number of hours they can work each week and are required to obtain a work permit approved by schools, employers, and students. All 16-year-olds must also get parental permission to work longer hours or past 10 p.m.

The existing law isn’t being closely followed. In fiscal 2018, 72% of inspections of Indiana businesses found child labor violations, with penalties amounting to nearly $1.5 million.

Critics argue that if the state’s child labor laws were changed, there would be nothing to stop Perfect from having minors work longer hours or until midnight, which is when the resort closes on weekends.

Terry Spradlin, executive director of the Indiana School Boards Association said, “We oppose this bill because we think it’s doing away with some laws that are appropriate and still suitable to make sure students do not work excessive hours, late hours. There is a need for these laws. They’re serving their purpose.”

For his part, Perfect claims his proposal has nothing to do with his business. “It wouldn’t affect me directly,” he said, “because as I testified today, we have invested an incredible amount of money and we are currently adhering to the laws. This is really more about small businesses who cannot afford the resources to adhere to these antiquated laws.”