[from Lewiston Sun-Journal. 3/10/11] By Steve Mistler, Staff Writer
AUGUSTA — Groups representing restaurants and hotels sparred with worker advocates on Wednesday over a bill that would ease work restrictions within the state’s 20-year-old child labor law.
The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Debra Plowman, R-Hampden, and backed by Gov. Paul LePage. Both believe high school-age students should be allowed to work longer hours and more often during the school year.
Opponents said the proposal would dial back child-labor protections enacted in 1991 to prevent employers from pressuring minors into working longer hours. They also worried the proposal would shift emphasis from education and school-sponsored, extra-curricular activities.