Arkansas loosens restrictions on child labor as feds crack down – National & International News – FRI 10Mar2023


Arkansas loosens restrictions on child labor as feds crack down.

Snow covered parts of California now brace for heavy rain

Germany: 7 killed in mass shooting at Jehovah’s Witness Hall.



Arkansas loosens restrictions on child labor as feds crack down

Earlier this week, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed the Youth Hiring Act of 2023 into law. This is only the latest in a series of bills floated in other Republican-leaning states to loosen restrictions on child labor, but it may be one of the most extreme. Arkansas’ new law removes all burdens on employers to verify the age of their employees before hiring them. Previously, employers had to verify that their employees were at least 16. Teens of 14 and 15 years of age had to receive a special permit from the Division of Labor in order to be eligible to work. Both requirements are now gone.

Huckabee Sanders defended the bill, saying the previous restrictions were “burdensome and obsolete”. But in recent years, child labor violations across the country have surged by 70%, according to the US Labor Department. In a call with reporters, one US official said, “This isn’t a 19th century problem, this isn’t a 20th century problem. This is happening today. We are seeing children across the country working in conditions that they should never ever be employed in the first place”.

Federal law forbids children under 16 from working in most factory settings, and children under 18 from working in hazardous jobs. The Department of Labor is investigating cases in several states where children as young as 12 were working in hazardous jobs. It’s hard to see how even this essential protection would be enforced in Arkansas when employers no longer have to verify the age of their workers.

The pandemic and the tight labor market after the economy re-opened seems to have ramped up violations. Businesses see child labor as a way to fill positions without having to offer competitive pay or benefits.

Snow covered parts of California now brace for heavy rain

Western and Northeastern states are in for more severe weather this weekend including heavy rain and blizzard conditions. In Southern California, where residents in mountain communities are still digging out from several feet of snow, an atmospheric river will be bringing torrential rain. The rain will make the snow heavier and increase the danger of more roof collapses, which have already been a problem. Heavy rain hitting snow-capped peaks will also speed melting and put communities downslope in danger of flash floods. 

Northern California is also at increased risk of flooding. In Humboldt County, conditions are so dangerous that ranchers are unable to tend and feed their cattle. Since Sunday, CALFIRE and the US Coast Guard have been teaming up to deliver hay to stranded cattle via helicopter. So far, they have delivered about 3 1/2 tons of hay.

California Gov. Gavin Newsome has requested federal help to cope with weather emergencies in his state, which President Biden has granted. Another atmospheric river is likely to hit the state early next week, and two more appear to be forming in the Pacific.



Germany: 7 killed in mass shooting at Jehovah’s Witness Hall

Yesterday, a 35-year-old gunman identified only as Philip F. opened fire at a Jehovah’s Witness meeting in Hamburg, Germany. Seven were killed, including an unborn baby, and the gunman also took his own life.

The gunman was a former parishioner at the hall. Apparently he had left the congregation about a year and a half ago “voluntarily, but apparently not on good terms”. In January,  German police interviewed the man after receiving a tip. The tipster said the man had been showing hostility towards Jehovah’s Witnesses and raised concerns about his fitness to own a gun. Police interviewed the man but found no reason to confiscate his weapon, which he legally owned for sporting purposes. 

Germany’s gun laws are more strict than the US but more permissive than most European countries. The country is now eyeing stricter gun laws in light of an increase in activity by political extremists. Last year, German police and intelligence forces rounded up dozens of people who were plotting to overthrow Germany’s democratic government. The plan was to install a minor prince as head of state.



Please share any thoughts, comments or questions in the Comments section below!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.