State Senator Jane Cunningham Wants to Put Missouri Kids to Work

Categories: News, Politics
child labor.jpg
Jane Cunningham: Misery is a great lesson for Missouri kids.
Jane Cunningham (R - West County) believes Missouri kids need to improve their work ethic so she's sponsoring a bill (SB 222) that would repeal much of the state's child labor laws.

According to the bill's official summary, children under the age of 14 would no longer be barred from employment. They'd also be able to work all hours of the day, no longer need a work permit from their school and be able to work at motels and resorts so long as they're given a place to lay their weary heads each night. Moreover, businesses that employ children would no longer be subject to inspections from the Division of Labor Standards.

In an interview yesterday with the St. Louis Beacon, Cunningham defended her legislation by nothing that her two sons -- now adults -- both held jobs as minors and are today better for it.

"My aim is to put back some common sense,'' Cunningham told the Beacon. "We're not doing students any favor by telling them, 'You cannot work.' "

Still, the bill is under attack from the AFL-CIO and other labor groups, who believe there's good reason that current law only allows children to work three hours on school days and no more than eight hours on non-school days.

"The Missouri legislature can always be counted on to come up with bizarre legislation, but Senate Bill 222 is the strangest we've see in awhile," writes the Kansas City Star in an op/ed this morning.

Continues the Star:
Teenagers of all ages will be freed from restrictions limiting how many hours they can flip burgers. And if they want to staff the drive-through window all night long, Cunningham is for that too. To heck with those early morning classes.

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105 comments
JBQ21
JBQ21

What about the right of a child "to be a child"?  Usually, I am very supportive of Senator Cunningham.  However, do we really want to go back to the days of "Oliver Twist" as documented by Charles Dickens.    It is common sense for families to all chip in on the family farm.  However, there has to be some common sense here in trying to have work done by "diaper dandies".    Also in case Senator Cunningham hasn't read the "Wall Street Journal", there are no jobs out there to start with. 

Meagan
Meagan

And some people think we no longer need labor unions! I think we're gonna need them now more than ever!

James Hodges
James Hodges

It never fails to amaze me how liberal/progressives like to posture themselves as though they are the avant-garde of open mindedness. When in fact, they are the most narrow minded, intolerant, noninclusive people who walk the face of the earth.     

Nicole
Nicole

There are not even enough jobs today for 20+!! A child's only obligation is getting an EDUCATION!

Political Watcher
Political Watcher

It is enlightening to see all the liberals in this crowd, and their inherent distrust for families and parents to make the right decisions for themselves, and their inherent trust in government to make the right decisions for them.  That is the difference between Republicans and Democrats: where they place their trust.

Common Sense
Common Sense

 It isn't going to happen and for a lot of good reasons. Next!

Parent1
Parent1

I worked as a teen.  Great experience.  As a parent of teens, it is sad that they cannot have the same experience.  It is also sad that people are mischaracterizing this bill.  This is about oppotunity.  Kids these days couldn't get the 1900 sweat shop jobs if they wanted them.  Those places don't exist anymore. 

anonymous
anonymous

tell the child laborers in china and southeast asia those places don't exist any more

Jonklement
Jonklement

How about putting Missouri ADULTS to work? What a concept!

Winston
Winston

The bill is anti communist in that one of Karl Marx's Communist planks calls for "the abolition of child labor in its present form." Read 'em all here: www.morpix.biz.x15. I believe the reason that Marx chose those words was to create an "army" of unemployed to be available for rioting and the draft.Consider those opposed to the bill are pro communist.

Maysadesimone
Maysadesimone

I am literally weeping right now. The Republican party members have lost their souls. They have lost all since of humanity. I am hoping that this women will be booted out!

Rocki401
Rocki401

Sounds to me like she wants to turn the entire State into a Mennonite child abusing community.

Shelagh_mayhew
Shelagh_mayhew

When was this woman born??? Were her parents strict and used the work ethics of the labor bosses of the past that used children of all ages, 3 or 4 was perfect to work in some factories. I believe that if she wants to instill a ethic for the children to use to make their time useful then they should not cut the after school programs and have adult volunteers to help to provide usable information for teens as to how to fill out an employment form and the importance of trying to find a job when there are no jobs to be had for adults. This is nonsense and the problem is that she thinks that she has good reasoning about this. I doubt that she worked at age thirteen, my daughter did and had the privilege of using her earned money on things that she wanted, but we couldn't get for her. That was almost 25 years ago and in a very small town, not in any urban environment.

Fred Sellers
Fred Sellers

The notion that this would mean children would be chained to workbenches in sweatshops is beyond ridiculous. No surprise that the AFL-CIO is against it. They're against anything they think will make it easier to get work without a union card.

DesertSun59
DesertSun59

It is time, people, to call out these ugly Christians for what they are. They are amoral. It's no surprise. They worship a DOCUMENTED genocidal deity.

Think about that. They WORSHIP a genocidal deity.

If you 'believe' that that sort of behavior is rational, logical or healthy, YOU need your head examined as well.

DesertSun59
DesertSun59

The MOST significant part of this total-waste-of-time bill is how she also stuffed into it the removal of inspections.

You see, she KNOWS ahead of time, that those corporate masters will be exploiting those children. And because she's a Christian (eg, without a shred of moral behavior) she doesn't care about the implication of an unregulated business employing minors.

Moira
Moira

Ms. Cunningham is a crackpot. There is plenty of opportunity for kids to work in their teens under existing laws. Tea Party--how is this helping, exactly??

Bigdog
Bigdog

If you can put children to work, they aren’t going to school. If children aren’t going to school, the education budget can be reduced. Thereby taxes can be lowered for the taxpayers that are out of work because a ten year old kid got their job.

Bob
Bob

What in God's name is Cunningham smoking? And how did she get elected? The people in this country really puzzle me.

Syd
Syd

Golly. They should just stop funding schools there. What would be the point? Plus, they could stop funding welfare, unless everyone in the house over the age of three is employed by the parks department picking up trash with little child-sized sticks. It will be a boon for the garment industry! Adults who want jobs will have to move to another state, however.

MrHacks
MrHacks

Well, I hope she is proud of making an ass out of our state. Now the guys who make those Taiwanese news animations have let the world know.http://www.nma.tv/missouri-law...Can we impeach a congressperson?

Jessica S
Jessica S

Just because some West County pre-teens need some sense knocked into them doesn't mean we should change the laws. Now the children in low-income homes with six kids are all going to be walking straight from school to McDonald's and handing their pay check to mom because they can't cash it and keep it for themselves. Nice move, Jane.

mahogma
mahogma

Is it required that you be an idiot to be a Republican,or does it just work out that way?

Iggy
Iggy

called Jane Cunningham's office yesterday. A gentleman answered the phone and I asked what the rationale could possibly be behind repealing the Child Labor Laws. I could NOT BELIVE the response I received. I was told that Senator Cunningham wanted them repealed due to the fact that (not kidding in any way shape or form), "a parent could go to jail for paying their child $20.00 for mowing the lawn". Seriously, that was the answer. When I asked him to tell me of one single, just one time that that has happened, he agreed that it never had. I pointed out that kids had participated for centuries in family business and that it was a very American tradition. I also pointed out that children need to be in school not working in the local factory so that corporations could get cheap labor. That statement led me to asking about what the Senator was doing about education in this state. He answered with, "I really don't want to go into it. The Senator wants to keep her plans and legislation on the down low. She really doesn't want it to be public knowledge". When I stated that it's SUPPOSED to be public knowledge, he disputed it and said that wasn't true. I then accused the Senator Cunningham of trying to "backdoor" legislation without the public's knowledge. It was pretty much at that point that I was summarily dismissed.

AgMom04
AgMom04

There is no comment I can make to this except that it is wrong on sooooo many levels!

Hughwest1966
Hughwest1966

Jane Cunningham's the same eejit who's always trying to pass legislation to make libraries hide any books about the homosexual lifestyle so kids can't be exposed to them. I thought she was only homophobic--now I see she's homophobic AND callous. Another great voice for the GOP.

Alice
Alice

I think this is awesome, my 15 year old has been wanting a real job since he was 12. What's wrong with kids learning what it takes to buy the things they want? This bill isn't going to force kids to work it's going to LET them work.

julibear
julibear

Your 15 year old CAN have a job, in MO their current laws allow children to work at 14. I personally had a job at 15, in Texas. And this bill can make parents force their child to work. Plus, why open up more people to the job market??? Now 18 year olds will have to compete with 15 year olds for the same fry cook job. Let the kids go to school and study!

Galactus6x
Galactus6x

What a shitty life your kid must have. If you have them do chores and some advanced stuff for friends or relatives or even help at a family business during the summer or on weekends that is fine. KIDS DO NOT BELONG WORKING AT FUCKING HOTELS/MOTELS WHERE THEY CAN BE DRAGGED INTO A ROOM AND RAPED OR AT SOME SWEATSHOP MAKING SHOES AND BACKPACKS FOR KIDS WITH REAL PARENTS THAT SEND THEM TO SCHOOL. THIS WHY YOU ASSHOLES VOTED FOR THIS BITCH, NO CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS.

Oldladyknee
Oldladyknee

Have you taken a history class? I would HATE to be your child.

GoGo Dropship
GoGo Dropship

This will only drive down employee wages. I worked when I was 16 and it was good for me. But, really if parents want their kids to learn the value of work they should teach them at home by giving them chores. 14 is the youngest someone should be working anyway and that's already in the law so they should just leave it alone.

Tspibee
Tspibee

Hey...I got an ideal!!!!! Lets start going backwards....Wonder if Mrs. Cunningham worked for a wage when she was a child?

Bewildered
Bewildered

Clearly, she's given up on education and childhood. Common sense is what she calls this impulsive, lame proposal. But in truth, her idea makes absolutely NO sense.

Galactus6x
Galactus6x

Shame and boycott any company that dares to take advantage of this piece of republican asswipe legislation!

Galactus6x
Galactus6x

Disgusting corporate whore! Kids have a hard enough time getting through school. Another sickening way the conservatards want to keep the American people tired, uneducated,poor and unhealthy. I bet you thought you were going to get rational governing from these assholes.You people screwed up and now your kids are going to pay for it! And why no inspections? To allow the corporations to prostitute your children in secret? I say a nationwide boycott of ANY COMPANY THAT THINKS THEY WILL ENJOY USING TEENS FOR CHEAP LABOR!

Smokin1
Smokin1

It's not a matter of being 'gullable'..its a matter of your public employee wasting your taxes on a bill that brings back children working 80 hour weeks!

how dare this elected official squander time and money on a horrible, mean bill like that one!

children can already work unlimited hours- over 14 years and limited to 3 hours a schoolday and 8 hours a non school day for under age 13.

Jane Cunningham (R - West County) wants to remove those limits. She introduced a bill, spent lots of state money and time. To try to allow children to work like they did in the early 1900s!.

She should be impeached, she just got elected..you're stuck for years with a person who seems to be shooting from the hip.

Kathy1949
Kathy1949

Is Cunningham on the Agri-business Committee? Child labor and repeal of the Min Wage sure fit into that committee's vision for MO. Children like being knee deep in puppies, and would take this 'job' for free.

Smokin1
Smokin1

Your kids can already work unlimited hours when over age 14! Tell them to go out and get a job, you are their parent!

Why does this person want children under 13 to work more than 3 hours on a school day or 8 hours a day on a non-school day? Little kids can legally still work a 30 hour week!

Does she want 8 year olds working 50 hour work weeks in sweatshops? This is America and we care about our childrens well being first!

How dare she wastes our state funds and wastes her time in office on bills that will NEVER pass!

PDalton
PDalton

Well, maybe she is a true patriot and is just worried about all the jobs shipped over seas!

If we could match the labor laws of china, just imagine how many jobs could be brought back to our shores. If all the big electronic firms could supervise the 10 year olds building circuit boards right here in the USA, it would be much easier than having to ship the finished product all the way back from China!

See, the American people just had to be willing to get with the program! Cunningham is a real reverse-pioneer!

Fuzzbollah
Fuzzbollah

I like the photo you used for the article. To see more such photos of child labor, google Lewis Hine. It was largely due to the photographic work of Lewis Hine that child labor law reforms took place in America 100 years ago. It is nothing less than amazing that this legislator proposes to change that - it is also immoral and unchristian.

Hwfdg
Hwfdg

First the women, now the children. What will happen when there's not another group to put to work to bail out American during hard times?

Smokin1
Smokin1

Jane Cunningham (R - West County) is a dumb as a freaking stone!! children can already work in Mo....the law protects under 13 years from working more than 3 hours on a school day and 8 hours on any day. Over age 14 there is no limit at all on work hours.

Jane Cunningham wants 8,13 year old children to work 80 hour weeks?

Jane Cunningham there is and has been no law on the books stopping your teen children from working! They are just LAZY and do not want to work! Those lazy children are your kids! you deal with them!

Unbelivable the VOTERS are so dumb to even vote into their legislature as stupid a person as Jane Cunningham. Now look how she wastes your legislatures time and spends thousands of your tax dollars writing bills that are so STUPID and harmfull..they will NEVER pass!

Thatnks Jane Cunningham for placing america more in debt and trying to make american children work a 80 hour week in sweatshops!

All because your own 2 teens are lazy teens! because you don't make them work!

polettime
polettime

From another KC Star op-ed on the proposed legislation:"Actually, they are a help to parents. Without those restrictions, you have a scenario in which Susie, 13, is working at a sub shop. She has homework and she’s supposed to get off at 8 p.m., but the shift manager needs her to stay and close up because Fred didn’t show up for work. Susie calls her mom, who protests, but the boss is adamant and Susie really wants to keep her job so mom agrees, just this once. And pretty soon “just this once” becomes the routine.I have watched this happen with a 16-year-old, and only the labor laws keep employers from demanding unreasonable service from the under-16 workforce."(Read more: http://voices.kansascity.com/e...

This actually happened to me when I was 17. I began working at a pizza place a month before my high school graduation, and I pleaded with my boss not to schedule me for any closing shifts during the week (we closed at 11 p.m.) until after graduation. So she scheduled me for at least two a week, three during finals week. It was not uncommon for me to get home after midnight and START my homework. Imagine the widespread impact on grades (and test scores! let's not forget the precious test scores!) if this becomes the norm for many, many more young students.

By the way, closing-shift employees got off work after the under-18 curfew in my hometown. That's another collateral issue in child labor. Suppose a 14-year-old kid gets off work down the street from his house (i.e., too close to make it worthwhile for a parents to drive him) at 1 a.m., and a cop picks him up for breaking curfew. A stretch? Yes. A possibility? Again, yes.

ckb
ckb

I know what you mean. As a high school teacher, I taught many students who were forced under threat of losing their jobs to work hours that were not favorable to their education, even though the original job did not include late hours. These kids come to school tired and many without having done their homework. Schools are constantly criticized for the level of student achievement, and I have seen too many high school kids whose work schedule has been a detriment to their education. To compound this problem by eliminating age limits can only worsen the problem. What is wrong with this woman? No one is going to report a 13 year old who babysits for a family friend on a Friday night. But that certainly does not translate into throwing out laws that have protected children.

Carrie91805
Carrie91805

That lady is a crock of s*%t !! all that will do is allow all of the perverts & pedifiles to have easy access to the children , I mean since she wants them to be able to work ALL hours of the day or night . Im with the others .. let HER children do it or let HER do it , if that is what she wants .Dont envolve everyone elses kids, cuz we actually care about them & their well being. In all honesty I really dont think this law will pass , or at least I would hope that one would have enough common sence not to ...

darkshrine
darkshrine

lol @American politics for making the world a bit more like the dark ages

("Dark Ages" is a term referring to the period of cultural and economic deterioration)

gwo
gwo

Actually the "dark ages" refers to a period in time that is not documented very well by any written records. The term has nothing whatsoever to do with any cultural or economic characterizations.

I just love how the pictures of 19th century urchins brings out all the gullible people. Why can't kids have paper routs anymore, or pick berries in the summer, or sweep up in the Baber shop for an hour a day? Geez. No wonder kids are fat and lazy.

enkelin
enkelin

mainly because Adults to that for their second or third job just to make ends meet. BTW the illegals pick berries now for a dollar a bucket. A FIVE GALLON BUCKET

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