When they are not busy tormenting transgendered people, immigrants, or teachers (because heaven forbid their students should read books about real life), Florida Republicans are thinking up brand-new draconian laws to get them kids back to work like they did 100 years ago. And of course, Governor Ron DeSantis is back and no longer seeking the Republican nod of approval for president. He’ll probably be more than happy to sign this bill into law.

Right now, Florida House Republicans are trying to pass a bill that would trash child labor protection laws thus allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to work full-time instead of going to school, Mediaite reports. Because after all, who needs all that learning? I mean especially if you’re a Florida Republican? And according to one Florida representative even claimed that the current laws that prohibit long work hours “were weakening society.”

The Republican brainiac who introduced H.B. 49 last September is Florida Rep. Linda Chaney and the bill is backed by The Foundation for Government Accountability, a right-wing think-tank. But right-wing and think-tank are oxymorons, if you ask me. The measure proposes that instead of only allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to work part-time jobs and expecting them to finish high school, let them drop out of school and work full-time instead. It also rolls back restrictions on the work sites where minors can work — including roofing jobs. That would not be fun in the middle of a Florida summer, believe me. I’ve lived in Florida and I don’t know which is worse — the biting flies, mosquitoes, or sweltering heat. Oh, and the bill also removes restrictions on the kinds of work teens can do.

And Rep. Kevin Steele thinks it’s way past time for change.

“We’ve been weakening our society since before my time,” he said. “you know, i started working at, like, 13 years old, a full-time job . i wrestled. i played every sport you can imagine. so the idea that they can’t afford to have these kids do this is an anomaly for me in my mind. if there’s an issue with inflation, we should address that with the federal government, not the state of Florida. So i apprecieate you running this bill. you guys continue doing the great work and help change your youth, the youth, out there to have them start working full-time.”

Florida Republicans are already doing whatever they can to erase history so that kids have the opportunity to read a dumbed-down, whitewashed story about how this country was forged. They are dead-set against children learning about critical race theory, that the LGBTQ+ community lives and also has its own history — which needs to be taught.

Okay. Now I’m off my soapbox. Of course, should the measure become law, kids can still stay in school AND work eight-hour shifts after a full day at school—and even on school nights.

As the Tallahassee Democrat noted: the “GOP push to get more children into the workforce comes as incidents of child labor violations are soaring across the country.”

I don’t think it would be much more of a stretch for Republicans to adapt more of this type of legislation so that younger children could start working — just as their ancestors did while working in textile jobs and factories in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Really, the Republicans, who are so against abortion, against the rights of women, people of color, and people in the LGBTQ+ community would be quite happy to take us back to the days of the Robber Barons if they were able to.

Perhaps this is why they are so deadset against our children learning the true history of the U.S. Because it looks like history is about to repeat itself once more.

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  1. Hey asshats…why not get the 147 insurrectionists in congress to work for their 175k a year plus free healthcare, travel, protection, etc.????

    • Why not just have them thrown out for being insurrectionists. Also, why not have the FBI arrest Alabama legislators for insurrection when they ignored the SC because it is a rebellion against the Constitution. Then go get the Governors of Texas and Florida for usurping the right of the Federal government to make immigration policy. Abbot is utilizing his National Guard as if they are his personal army to thwart the efforts of the Border Patrol. Hell, then go after all the state AG’s that supported and gave aid to the January insurrection in 2021. MSM and FOX would have heads exploding. Then lock Trump up for violating his bale agreement in Georgia.

  2. You are perhaps closer to the mark on the return to the robber baron era that people realize. I’ve written about it before but when you delve into legal philosophies dominating SCOTUS decisions if one isn’t into obscure, mostly forgotten legal stuff it’s boring. So both in my days on DK and now over hear when I start brining up the Lochner era and try to explain it’s what The Federalist Society organized to return us to people yawn.

    However, this era is exactly what they’ve worked so hard to achieve with their reshaping of the federal judiciary (as well as at the state level) and SCOTUS. AND they are buying “chairs” at law schools to crank out lawyers to move cases through the courts that will strip worker protections from organizing to child labor, and of course rescind minimum wage. It was a bleak several decades that fostered the concentration of wealth that led to the Great Depression. However, while some rich folks lost everything the richest did just fine. Remember old man Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life? Using the panic to gain control of the bank and trying to (finally) get the “Building & Loan” by paying people pennies on the dollar for their deposits/shares? That’s what happened then. It’s what will happen again. Prior to the reforms of The New Deal booms and crashes including actual Depressions were a regular cycle. Everyone but the top say one-half of the one percent lose. But that small slice at the very top make out like bandits.

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out in FL. I wrote about the movement to create a Trump legal fund and frankly was stunned when DeSantis said he’d veto such a bill. It seems to have been withdrawn. Ron might (probably does) still have delusions of Presidential Grandeur and be thinking he can do in 2028 what he couldn’t this year. If so he’ll threaten to veto this as well and that will be the end of it. However, he’s spent a lot of his political capital back there already and FL GOPers might not dance to his tune anymore.

    • I heard about a reply FDR gave to his richest friends opposed to the ‘socialism’ of the New Deal…he said they threatened to leave the country. He told them he would miss them. That’s leadership.

    • I write frequently about history and my family has a long history in this country that goes all the way back to the 1600s so I get really upset when I read things like this. Because it’s just another short step toward forcing all children no matter their age to work again. It goes against everything my ancestors fought for.

  3. I can hear the circular arguments in my head and they make me want to scream:
    Robber Baron: “You are only 16, but you have a strong back and your parents need that extra income so get out there and start breaking your back instead of staying In school!”
    16 year-old: “OK, I’ll destroy my back and my future for my parents’ sake if you’ll pay me what these dangerous jobs are worth…say $30/hr to start!”
    Robber Baron: “No way I will pay you that much, you’re only a kid!”
    And that is the point, isn’t it? Give me cheap, uneducated labor and when those cogs in my machine die, their kids will be there even younger and more uneducated! Scrooges gotta have their personal workhouses or the system will collapse!


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