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Keenan Miller

Labor activists standing against child labor and autonomous vehicles gather in Frankfort

Labor unions across the commonwealth rallied at the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort. They were speaking out against various bills moving through the legislature. Those include House Bill 255, which intends to align state law with federal law. The proposal allows more hours for young people ages 16 and 17 to work during a school day. Activists are also concerned with House Bill 7 which plans to put regulatory standards on interactions and implementation of autonomous vehicles on Kentucky’s roadways.

One of the speakers at Wednesday's rally was Tim Morris, who is the executive director of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council. He said labor activists came together in 2017 in Kentucky and will continue to stand up for the commonwealth's workers.

“We are here again, fighting not only for our livelihoods, but the livelihoods of every single, hard working man, woman and soon to be possibly children.”

Currently, Kentucky law limits 16 and 17-year-olds to only be able to work six hours on school days. That limit increases to eight hours on a non-school day and up to 30 hours total during a school week. House Bill 255, sponsored by Republican Representative Phillip Pratt of Georgetown, will allow older teens to work an unlimited amount of hours, as federal law does not have any hourly restrictions on labor hours for teens.

During the rally, Tim Morris said it is important for the legislature to understand how important Kentucky's children are.

“Child labor laws would harm them and their childhood, kids deserve to be able to be kids. We need to let kids be kids.”

Kentucky teens ages 16 and 17 will be allowed to work more than 30 hours a week if they receive parental permission, but must maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average.

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