Child labor remains a top issue in 2024 state legislative sessions amid soaring violations and widespread abuse of child labor laws in multiple sectors of the economy. On one hand, the coordinatedindustry-backed effort to roll back child labor protections state by state has continued to expand. At the same time, some state legislators are proposing legislation to strengthen the rights of young workers and the laws designed to safeguard their health and education.

Since 2021, 28 states have introduced bills to weaken child labor laws, and 12 states have enacted them. By contrast, 14 states have introduced bills to strengthen child labor protections already in 2024—up from 11 states in all of 2023—as more state lawmakers recognize the need to address increasing violations and threats to current state and federal standards.

Attacks on child labor laws continue trend of weakening important state standards, with eventual goal of diminishing federal child labor laws 

From the 1800s onward, states have often led the way on child labor regulation. Today, many important policy tools for preventing exploitative forms of child labor—such as work permit requirements […]

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