The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has advanced a bill that allows 16 and 17-year-olds to get a job in Wisconsin without a state work permit.
Democratic State Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) argued against eliminating the $10 permit and parental approval, saying it removes a key protection for teens. “I’m just baffled by why we would not protect our young people,” she said.
Republicans on the committee defended the measure though. State Representative Amy Loudenbeck (R-Clinton), a sponsor of the bill, said it gives minors who may face problems getting a job, such as those with absent parents, a better chance at entering the workforce. “This isn’t a tattoo…it’s a job,” she said. “This is a good thing that we want kids to engage in, so they can be self-supporting.”
JFC co-chair John Nygren (R-Marinette) argued the bill does not prevent parents from still telling their children they can’t work. “You don’t need government to be the bad guy…government creates too many barriers to employment and this is removing one of those.”
Workers under the age of 16 would still need a state permit.
The bill passed on a 12-4 vote in committee and now heads to the full Legislature.