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Public Statements

Luetkemeyer Votes to Stop Government from Limiting Young People's Role in Agriculture

Press Release

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Building on his efforts to protect young people in agriculture against excessive government rules, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9) has voted in favor of legislation that would prohibit the U.S. Department of Labor from enforcing rules restricting the type of work young people can do on farms.

"The Department of Labor's rule threatens the American farming tradition, by making it more difficult for young people to gain valuable experience in agriculture and help their friends and neighbors at the same time. Missouri's farm families should decide the appropriate role for young people in agriculture, not federal bureaucrats in Washington," Luetkemeyer said. "Especially at a time when our economy is struggling, the last thing we need to be doing is putting additional restrictions on the very people who put food on our tables."

The aptly named Preserving America's Family Farms Act (H.R. 4157) would specifically prohibit the Secretary of Labor from finalizing or enforcing proposed rule "Child Labor Regulations, Orders and Statements of Interpretation; Child Labor Violations-Civil Money Penalties" that relates to child labor in agricultural and nonagricultural occupations.

Since 2011, Luetkemeyer has been pressing the Labor Department to scrap proposed rules that would restrict the ablity of young Missourians to consider agricultural-related careers and limit farmers' options when hiring young people. While the Labor Department agreed in February, 2012, to include broader exemptions for children whose parents own or operate farms or have a substantial interest in a farm partnership or corporation, Luetkemeyer said the current legislation goes further by banning the rule outright. In late 2011, Luetkemeyer successfully fought for a one-month extension of the comment period on the proposed changes. Luetkemeyer's offices have received dozens of calls from concerned farm families about the impact of the proposed rules. About 98 percent of American farms are family-owned operations and many farms are jointly owned by several family members.

In April, 2012, the Labor Department withdrew the proposed rule and brought an end to a rule that would have undermined the ability of farmers to hire youth to work on farms.

"I want to thank all those farm families who continue to support our efforts to prevent the federal government from implementing these troubling restrictions and this bill is an extension of those efforts," Luetkemeyer said.


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