Missouri bill could prevent efforts to limit child farm labor - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Missouri bill could prevent efforts to limit child farm labor

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MONTICELLO, Mo. (WGEM) -

A local Missouri lawmaker is fighting back against federal regulation that would prohibit children from doing certain agricultural work on farms.

Senator Brian Munzlinger (R-Williamstown) is sponsoring a bill saying that children would only need the consent of their parents to work on the family's farm rather than getting a work certificate and work hour limitations that the federal government would have imposed.

"As long as the parents know what the children are doing and they're comfortable with that then those children should be able to do that," said Munzlinger.

Senate Bill 16 would exempt kids under the age of 16 from being required to get a work certificate. It would also free up the number of hours they can work, only if they have parental consent.

"I worked with the Department of Labor here in Missouri and the Governor's Office and came up with this language to allow children to gain a work ethic and responsibility like they always have," said Munzlinger.

Munzlinger says the restrictions the federal Department of Labor wants to enact would really hurt local farmers and their families.

"I would like the federal government to recognize that these kids don't really lay around on the couch all day," said Munzlinger. "They actually go out and work."

Kim Porter owns a farm with her husband outside of Monticello. Porter has two sons that work on their farm.         

"They help my husband with the tractor and the grain car," said Porter. "They work around and they're very helpful on the farm."

Porter says she agrees with Munzlinger's legislation and believes farming teaches kids a very specific type of work ethic.

"It teaches them the value of work and to put in a good day's work you get a good day's pay and they have the satisfaction of knowing what they did and watching the crops grow and knowing that they had a big part in that," explained Porter.

"I think the people in Missouri, especially in the legislature, realize the importance of agriculture for the state, being our largest industry that this is something we need to get done," added Munzlinger.

The bill has passed the State Senate. It's now in the Missouri House waiting to go to committee.

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