Bill to repeal break for working minors is amended in the Senate and returns to the House


Legislation to remove the required 20-minute break for minors who work five or more hours passed in the Senate after it was amended and it returns to the House. Lafayette Republican Senator Jean-Paul Coussan’s amendment changed the bill to keep the required break for fourteen and fifteen-year-olds.

“Cause if you’re 16 or 17, like all of the proponents are saying, talk to your parents, walk away from the job, or deal with it. In this case, the bill would only apply to 14 and 15-year-olds and I think that’s going to give everyone less heartburn. It certainly wins my vote,” said Coussan.

New Orleans Democrat Senator Gary Carter asked Coussan to clarify that the amendment would change the bill to only repeal required breaks for teens sixteen and older.

“It’s a good amendment it helps the bill, but I think I’m still… I don’t know if it helps it enough for me to support the bill, but I certainly appreciate your amendment,” Carter said.

Many Republican Senator Alan Seabaugh, who supports the bill, objected to the amendment and said it will only deter employers from hiring those who are 15-year-olds and younger.

“This is not about abuse, we’re not working kids in salt mines, or coal mines, or heavy equipment. We’re talking about opening the job market to 15-year-olds who want to work. I understand why he’s offering the amendment, but I do object,” said Seabaugh.

The amendment passed on a 25 to 11 vote.

Monroe Democrat Senator Katrina Jackson-Andrews said the minors she sees working in her district are using their break to study or finish homework. After hearing proponents say ‘kids want to work’ she felt moved to speak against the bill.

“And we can’t purport to say they know everything they want, but we know they need study time, and we know they need to show up at school with prepared assignments. So, for that reason I rise in opposition to the bill,” said Jackson-Andrews.

House Bill 156, in its amended form, passed on a 26 to 11 vote in the Senate and it now returns to the House for a vote.


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