Wisconsin Assembly votes to eliminate work permit requirement for 14- and 15-year-olds

The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a Republican-authored bill eliminating work permit requirements for 14- and 15-year-olds — the state Senate passed the measure in October 2023, and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers is likely to veto the proposal.

Associated Press

February 13, 2024

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Amy Binsfield speaks into a microphone she is holding in her right hand while standing among other people seated in rows of wood desks, in a room with marble masonry.

State Rep. Amy Binsfield, R-Sheboygan, speaks during a Wisconsin Assembly floor session on Sept. 14, 2023. Binsfield is a co-sponsor of a proposal to eliminate work permit requirements for 14- and 15-year-olds in the state, which passed in the Assembly on Feb. 13, 2024. The measure was previously passed in the state Senate and goes to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who is likely to veto it. (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

AP News

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — More Wisconsin teenagers would be able to work jobs without obtaining permits under a Republican-authored bill the state Assembly approved and sent to Gov. Tony Evers on Feb. 13.

Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill in 2017 that eliminated work permit requirements for 16- and 17-year-olds. The new bill eliminates the requirement for 14- and 15-year-olds.

The proposal doesn’t change state law governing how many hours minors can work or prohibiting them from working dangerous jobs.

The proposal comes amid a wider push by state lawmakers to roll back child labor laws and despite the efforts of federal investigators to crack down on a surge in child labor violations nationally.

The bill would cost the state about $216,000 in revenue annually from lost permit fees and eliminate the state Department of Workforce’s only means of gathering child labor data, according to a fiscal estimate from the agency.

But supporters say the measure would eliminate red tape for both employers and teenage job applicants and bolster the state’s workforce.

The bill, which was approved by the Senate in October, passed in the Assembly by a 62-34 vote.

The measure goes next to Evers, who will likely veto it. He nixed a bill in 2022 that would have allowed 14- and 15-year-olds to work longer summer hours.

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