The Washington Post revealed the organization promoting the dilution of child labor laws. Iowa and Arkansas, both solid red states, were first to remove protections for children to meet the needs of employers.

To learn more about the gutting of child labor law in Iowa, watch this chilling video, thanks to reader Greg B.

Remember, the GOP is the party that loves the unborn but disdains the born. They value life in the womb but not actual children.

Investigative reporter Jacob Bogage of the Washington Post wrote:

When Iowa lawmakers voted last week to roll back certain child labor protections, they blended into a growing movement driven largely by a conservative advocacy group.
At 4:52 a.m., Tuesday, the state’s Senate approved a bill to allow children as young as 14 to work night shifts and 15 year-olds on assembly lines. The measure, which still must pass the Iowa House, is among several the Foundation for Government Accountability is maneuvering through state legislatures.
The Florida-based think tank and its lobbying arm, the Opportunity Solutions Project, have found remarkable success among Republicans to relax regulations that prevent children from working long hours in dangerous conditions. And they are gaining traction at a time the Biden administration is scrambling to enforce existing labor protections for children.
The FGA achieved its biggest victory in March, playing a central role in designing a new Arkansas law to eliminate work permits and age verification for workers younger than 16. Its sponsor, state Rep. Rebecca Burkes (R), said in a hearing that the legislation “came to me from the Foundation [for] Government Accountability.”
“As a practical matter, this is likely to make it even harder for the state to enforce our own child labor laws,” said Annie B. Smith, director of the University of Arkansas School of Law’s Human Trafficking Clinic. “Not knowing where young kids are working makes it harder for [state departments] to do proactive investigations and visit workplaces where they know that employment is happening to make sure that kids are safe.”

That law passed so swiftly and was met with such public outcry that Arkansas officials quickly approved a second measure increasing penalties on violators of the child labor codes the state had just weakened.
In Missouri, where another child labor bill has gained significant GOP support, the FGA helped a lawmaker draft and revise the legislation, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post.
The FGA for years has worked systematically to shape policy at the state level, fighting to advance conservative causes such as restricting access to anti-poverty programs and blocking Medicaid expansion.

But in February, the White House announced a crackdown on child labor violators in response to what activists have described as a surge in youths — many of them undocumented immigrants — working at meat packing plants, construction sites, auto factories and other dangerous job sites.
The administration’s top labor lawyer called the proposed state child labor laws “irresponsible,” and said it could make it easier for employers to hire children for dangerous work.
“Federal and state entities should be working together to increase accountability and ramp up enforcement — not make it easier to illegally hire children to do what are often dangerous jobs,” Labor Solicitor Seema Nanda said. “No child should be working in dangerous workplaces in this country, full stop.”
Congress in 1938 passed the Fair Labor Standards Act to stop companies from using cheap child labor to do dangerous work, a practice that exploded during the Great Depression….

On the surface, the FGA frames its child worker bills as part of a larger debate surrounding parental rights, including in education and child care. But the state-by-state campaigns, the group’s leader said, help the FGA create openings to deconstruct larger government regulations.
Since 2016, the FGA’s Opportunity Solutions Project has hired 115 lobbyists across the country with a presence in 22 states, according to the nonpartisan political watchdog group Open Secrets.
“The reason these rather unpopular policies succeed is because they come in under the radar screen,” said David Campbell, professor of American democracy at the University of Notre Dame. “Typically, these things get passed because they are often introduced in a very quiet way or by groups inching little by little through grass-roots efforts.”
Minnesota and Ohio have introduced proposals this year allowing teens to work more hours or in more dangerous occupations, such as construction. A bill in Georgia would prohibit the state government from requiring a minor to obtain a work permit.

The FGA-backed measures maintain existing child labor safety protections “while removing the permission slip that inserts government in between parents and their teenager’s desire to work,” Nick Stehle, the foundation’s vice president, said in a statement.
“Frankly, every state, including Missouri, should follow Arkansas’s lead to allow parents and their teenagers to have the conversation about work and make that decision themselves,” said Stehle, who is also a visiting fellow at the Opportunity Solutions Project.
The FGA declined to make Stehle and other representatives available for interviews.
It’s one of several conservative groups that have long taken aim at all manner of government regulations or social safety net programs. The FGA is funded by a broad swath of ultraconservative and Republican donors — such as the Ed Uihlein Family Foundation and 85 Fund, a nonprofit connected to political operative Leonard Leo — who have similarly supported other conservative policy groups.
The youth hiring or employment bills, as they are often titled, represent growing momentum among conservatives who contend that parents and not government policy should determine whether and where 14- and 15-year-olds should work.
“When you say that a bill will allow kids to work more or under dangerous conditions, it sounds wildly unpopular,” Campbell said. “You have to make the case that, no, this is really about parental rights, a very carefully chosen term that’s really hard to disagree with….”

Supporters of the child worker proposals say they reduce red tape around the hiring process for minors. A spokeswoman for Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a rising Republican star, said her state’s law relieved parents of “obsolete” and “arbitrary burdens.”
“The main push for this reform didn’t come from big business,” Stehle, the FGA vice president, wrote in an essay for Fox. “It came from families like mine, who want more of the freedom that lets our children flourish…”

Tarren Bragdon, a former Maine state legislator, founded the FGA in 2011 with a focus on cutting social safety net and anti-poverty programs. It quickly tapped into conservative political fundraising networks and grew from $50,000 in seed funding to $4 million in revenue by its fourth year, according to tax filings and the group’s promotional materials.

In 2020, the most recent year for which the FGA and its funders’ full financial disclosures are available, more than 70 percent of its $10.6 million in revenue came from 14 conservative groups.

The FGA joined the State Policy Network, a confederation of conservative state-level think tanks that practice what leaders call the “Ikea model” of advocacy, its president said during the group’s 2013 conference. Affiliates such as the FGA display prefabricated policy projects for state officials, then provide the tools — including research and lobbying support — to push proposals through legislative and administrative processes.
In 2021, for example, Arkansas legislators passed 48 measures backed by the FGA, according to the foundation’s end-of-year report. It identified Arkansas, Missouri and Iowa among its five “super states” where it planned to increase its advocacy presence.
In 2022, the FGA claimed 144 “state policy reform wins,” including 45 related to unemployment and welfare, across a slew of states.
“Success in the states is critical for achieving national change, as it often opens the door to federal regulatory reform,” Bragdon wrote in the group’s 2021 report. “Once enough states successfully implement a reform, we can use the momentum and proven results to build pressure for regulatory change.”
Yet even legislators who support the FGA’s policies expanding child labor have found their limits.
Missouri’s bill was amended to require a parental permission form for children aged 14 to 16 who want to take a job. The original legislation, edited by the FGA, did not contain any such provision.