For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - A bill introduced by the Department of Labor with the support of the Maine School Management Association to expand work opportunities for high school students was rejected with a party line vote of 85-58 in the Maine House on Wednesday morning. Not a single party testified in opposition to the bill during its public hearing before the labor committee.
The bill, LD 1698, would simply allow teens to work in movie theaters and bowling alleys while streamlining work permitting rules between MSMA and the Department of Labor to speed up the permitting process.
It is unclear why Maine has restricted teens' summer job opportunities in this manner, as 47 states allow minors to work in theaters and 44 allow them to work in bowling alleys.
"There seems to be no limit to the extent to which Democrats are willing to step into people's homes and do their parenting for them," said Rep. Amy Volk (R-Scarborough), ranking House Republican on the Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development (LCRED) Committee and mother of three high school- and college-age children. "I don't know a single parent who would have a problem with their teen working in a theater or a bowling alley in the summer, but I was surrounded by 85 liberal politicians who do."
Rep. Lawrence Lockman (R-Amherst) sponsored the bill on behalf of the Department of Labor. Two students, Ben Evans and Judah Merrill, testified in favor of the bill before LCRED, saying that they have had to wait well into the summer to receive their work permits due to delays that would be remedied by LD 1698.
Assistant House Republican Leader Alex Willette of Mapleton is one of the youngest members of the House.
"At 24, I have recent experience with Maine's cumbersome summer work permitting process, and definitely see the need for this bill," said Rep. Willette. "I never worked in a theater or a bowling alley, but was shocked to find out it's currently not allowed, and even more shocked to see Democrats refuse to change that."
The bill will now move to the Senate for votes.
Maine House Republicans
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