In light of proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is asking U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to abandon the new rules, saying they would threaten Colorado agriculture and opportunities for aspiring young farmers.
The proposed revisions would prohibit children on farms from participating in a variety of activities including operating a tractor, applying pesticides and working with livestock. Children would also be prohibited from working on any farm that was not directly owned by their parents.
"No one supports violating child labor laws, but criminalizing a teenager for bucking hay on his uncle's farm is just plain wrong," Gardner wrote in a letter to Solis.
Gardner goes on to write: "These proposed rules are a solution in search of a problem. To move forward would be irresponsible and devastating to family run farms. I ask that you heed the advice of the American agricultural community and abandon these changes immediately."
Congressman Gardner is a freshman member in the U.S. House of Representatives for Colorado's 4th Congressional District. He serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and is a member of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, the Subcommittee on Environment and Economy and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.