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News from the Iowa Legislature

New Iowa child labor laws

A new law has just taken effect in Iowa relating to child labor laws. The new law allows kids ages 14 and 15 to be able to work until 11:00 PM during the summer. That’s two hours longer than previously allowed. They’ll be able to work until 9:00 PM during the school year. Kids over 16 will have no hour limits. Employers should be aware that this change may be challenged as being in conflict with federal labor regulations found within the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Kids 16 and older will be able to serve alcohol in restaurants, with parent or guardians written permission, for the first time. The opponents of the new law expressed concerns about kids serving alcohol and the potential they could be taken advantage of or overserve someone. However, the new law requires the kids be in line of sight of two adult employees at all times when serving alcohol and they can only serve alcohol in restaurants when the kitchen is open and they cannot serve alcohol in bars. Employers should also be aware that this new law may be in conflict with Federal Rules and potential legal challenges may be forthcoming. 

Iowa Governor signs several educational bills

On a separate note, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed several bills relating to education in recent weeks. Governor Reynolds called the bill’s legislation restoring parental rights. These bills change how LGBTQ students and topics are approached, which has been priority for Republican legislators in 2023. The highest profile bill is Senate File 496 which bans books with written and visual depiction of sex acts from school libraries, with an exception for religious texts like the Bible, Torah and Qur’an.

The law also prohibits instruction and materials involving “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Additionally, schools are required to notify parents if their child requests to use a different name or pronouns than what they were given at birth and the new law also stipulates school staff cannot knowingly provide “false or misleading” information on a child’s gender identity to their parents.

Questions? Contact attorney Joseph Laverty in our Davenport office at (563) 333-9102 or by email.

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