Weakening Child Labor Laws HB 49/SB 1596

Text of the Bill and a Brief Summary

HB 49 (full text)/SB 1596 (full text) attempt to deal with Florida’s labor shortage by exploiting poor and working class children. For decades, Florida has has stronger child labor laws than federally required and stronger child labor laws than many other states. These bills would weaken child labor laws in Florida thereby jeopardizing the health, safety and education of Florida’s children.   

Members of the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association traveled up to Tallahassee and testified against HB 49. Press play to watch them talk about the impact weakening child labor laws would have on the students they teach. 

What’s Next

  • HB 49 has been placed on the special order calendar for Feb. 2.
  • SB 1596 has passed its first committee stop and has two more to go. Its next stop is in the Regulated Industries Committee where it has yet to be placed on an agenda.  

Vote History

  • HB 49
    • 10-5, Regulatory Reform and Economic Development Subcommittee, 12/13/23
    • 12-5, Local Administration, Federal Affairs and Special Districts Subcommittee, 1/10/24
    • 13-5, Commerce Committee, 1/23/24
    • 80-35, 2/2/24
  • SB 1596
    • 4-1, Commerce and Tourism Committee, 1/30/24

Talking Points

Students deserve to be able to learn and thrive in their public school, helped along by teachers and education staff professionals. HB 49 would roll back significant child labor protections that would put students, and their educational opportunities, at risk.

  • Every teacher knows that children learn best when they are present in school and when they are healthy and well-rested.
  • Rolling back protections on child labor laws and allowing children to work longer hours and in more dangerous conditions will only serve undermine the conditions necessary for students to learn.
  • Public school is the place where childhood happens and where communities are centered- every child in Florida deserves a childhood that is uninterrupted by the often unpleasant realities of adulthood.
  • Child labor laws are about keeping kids safe, but they are also about keeping children in school and learning so they gain the skills they need to prosper once they have graduated. Anything that undermines Florida’s child labor laws would simultaneously undermine children’s academic and lifelong success.
  • We know that Florida’s wealthiest families aren’t clamoring for their own children to miss out on their childhood by working from when they get out of school until early in the morning. We don’t want that for anyone’s child regardless of the race, ZIP code or family income.
  • Only when politicians focus on an educational ecosystem that includes affordable housing, healthcare and the creation of high-paying jobs, can every child in the state will have the same opportunity for the childhood they deserve.

Click on any of the headers below to expand the section and receive more information. 

SB 7002 (full text) is one of three bills proposed by the Senate PreK-12 Education Committee that focuses on deregulation of public schools. The focus for SB 7002 is on regulations regarding finance, facilities and oversight.

Some of the specific proposed changes include the following:
  • For districts who are out of compliance with class size laws, this bill removes the requirement for school districts to develop a plan listing the specific actions they will take to get into compliance. (Line 647)
  • Allowing school districts to decide if it is necessary to make up days lost to hurricanes or other emergencies. Currently, that power rests with the State Board of Education. (Line 913)
  • Revises the requirements allowing students to carry essential medical supplies at school with simpler prescription and parent approval processes. (Line 445, Line 455, Line 505, Line 542) 
  • 8-0: Senate PreK-12 Education Committee, 11-15-23 (Senators Osgood and Yarborough both had excused absences from the meeting.)

SB 7002 has been referred to the Fiscal Policy Committee for what will likely be its final committee stop before heading for a vote in the full Senate. 

The bill could be heard in the Fiscal Policy Committee as soon as Dec. 5. We’ll know by Nov. 28 if the bill is placed on the agenda for the Dec. 5 meeting. 

Coming soon.

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