They’re Hard at Work All Around the Nation

The political party that claims to support workers and “family values” is thinking not enough school children work in slaughterhouses. From The Guardian:

The governor of Arkansas signed a bill that rolls back protections against child labor, eliminating state requirements to verify that children are at least 16 before they receive a job.

In Ohio, lawmakers are considering a bill that would let 14- and 15-year-old children work year-round until 9pm each day.

Lawmakers in Minnesota have filed a bill that would permit children aged 16 and 17 to work construction jobs.

In Iowa, legislative proposals would allow children at least 15 years old to sell alcohol and children at least 14 years old to work specific jobs in meatpacking plants. The Iowa bill would also protect companies from liability if a child got sick or injured or died while at work.

Reports by the New York Times have exposed the hiring of migrant children to work dangerous jobs at factories and elsewhere, flouting federal law.

Meanwhile, the forced birth movement forges ahead. Who else can we jail when a woman ends a pregnancy, aside from doctors, nurses, pharmacists and Uber drivers?

For decades, the mainstream anti-abortion [i.e. forced birth] movement promised that it did not believe women who have abortions should be criminally charged. But now, Republican lawmakers in several US states have introduced legislation proposing homicide and other criminal charges for those seeking abortion care.

The bills have been introduced in states such as TexasKentuckySouth CarolinaOklahoma and Arkansas. Some explicitly target medication abortion and self-managed abortion; some look to remove provisions in the law which previously protected pregnant people from criminalization; and others look to establish the fetus as a person from the point of conception.

Finally, the Sunshine State’s mini-Mussolini promises great things ahead. From press critic Margaret Sullivan:

The Florida governor Ron DeSantis likes to brag that he’s just getting started with his rightwing agenda…. He means it as a promise, but it ought to be heard as a threat. That’s particularly true for women whose abortion rights already are being dangerously curtailed and for gay and transgender students who are already being treated as lower life forms. It’s particularly true for those who care about voting rights and press rights, and for those who cherish the power of books and free expression as a foundation of societal well-being….

“DeSantis rules by an authoritarian playbook,” wrote Miami Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago….

Let’s review some of what has happened on his watch with the help of a rubber-stamp Republican state legislature.

The Parental Rights in Education Act, better known as “don’t say gay”, prevents teachers from talking about gender identity and sexual orientation in some elementary-school grades.

The so-called Stop Woke Act restricts how race is discussed in Florida’s schools, colleges and even private workplaces.

Another law pulled a slew of books from public school libraries while they are reviewed for their supposed suitability…. 

Florida’s medical boards now bar transgender youth from gender-affirming medical care such as hormone therapy. State law bans most abortions beyond 15-weeks gestation; a new bill would tighten that to only six weeks.

And, of course, never forget that true liberty means ready access to guns: Florida residents may soon be able to carry firearms without a state license.

Governor courage-to-be-free also wants to limit press rights, including supporting a challenge to the landmark US supreme court decision that for decades has given journalists enough protection from defamation lawsuits to let them do their jobs.

When DeSantis signed into law new restrictions on voting rights, he did so in a room where local reporters were shut out. Fox News, however, got special access….

DeSantis also got his legislature to establish a new and completely unnecessary election crimes office. After the first few cases turned into a legal embarrassment, he got his rubber-stampers to change the law again.

That’s why it’s appalling to see the media lavish him with so much fawning coverage…. The media should be delving into the substance of [his] record, including the kitchen-table economic issues that have nothing to do with performative anti-woke nonsense, instead of letting DeSantis play at will on his favorite field of divisive social issues….

Given all of this, it’s a scary thought that he’s just getting started.

It’s said that the individual states of the Union are “laboratories of democracy”. They’re where policies are often proposed and tried out before they reach the national level.

It’s bad enough Republican experiments like these are happening all over the country. We’ve got to make sure they never escape the labs.