WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today responded to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) inadequate 30-day extension of the public comment period for proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Farmers and ranchers were given inadequate notice of, and insufficient time to comment on, the proposed rule which could fundamentally disrupt agriculture practices across the country. The proposed changes include a ban on many common farm activities of youth on farms or ranches not directly owned by their parents.
“The Department of Labor’s proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act did not come by recommendation of Congress; they came out of the blue, lack common sense and a basic understanding of how agricultural operations work, and pose a real threat to the future of family farms and rural communities in Kansas and across the country,” Sen. Moran said. “It is DOL’s responsibility to make certain there is sufficient time for thorough vetting of a proposal with such far-reaching consequences. Given the timing of the original comment period, it appears the Department is trying to impose this regulation without vital input from farmers and ranchers."
Last week, Sen. Moran led 31 of his Senate colleagues in asking U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis to extend the comment period by a minimum of 60 days because DOL set the original 60-day comment period during the fall harvest season. This is the busiest time of year for agricultural producers – the group that would be most impacted by the proposed rule changes.
In addition to Sen. Moran, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Ben Nelson, Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Thune (R-S.D.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).
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