With No Fanfare, DeSantis Signs Two Bills That Allow Disney To Hire Kids for Dangerous Jobs

in Disney, Disney Parks, Theme Parks, Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World

Mickey Mouse in front of the Cinderella Castle inside the Magic Kingdom with a couple of children

Credit: Disney

When politicians sign a bill, they want everyone to know about it. They will hold grand bill-signing ceremonies with dignitaries and hand out pens to everyone who helped pass the bill.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is no different. Two weeks ago, when DeSantis signed a bill promoting harsher penalties for shoplifting, he did it at a local Walgreens, surrounded by supporters.

Related: Disney Worked Behind the Scenes to Pass Florida Law That Stripped Cast Members of Basic Human Rights

However, it can also be telling when a politician secretly signs a bill. Again, Gov. Ron DeSantis is no different.

Recently, DeSantis signed two bills with no fanfare that would strip child labor laws in the state and allow teenagers to work unlimited hours at dangerous jobs.

House Bill 49 allows teens to work more than 30 hours a week, after 11 p.m. on school days, and for more than six consecutive days. The bill was supported by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, which includes the Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando.

This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the second bill allowing minors to work in dangerous construction jobs, including roofing. The Florida Home Builders Association pushed this bill through the Florida Legislature.

Lawmakers who helped pass their child labor rollbacks argue that the state desperately needs workers, and employers urged them to allow minors more flexibility in their work hours.

Mickey Mouse in a ceremonial outfit stands by Cinderella Castle with an overlaid image of Ron DeSantis speaking at Disney, all set under a sunny sky.
Credit: Inside the Magic

However, critics of the bills say that rolling back child labor protections will lead to the exploitation of minors in the workforce and the inability of teenagers to say no to their employers.

Disney World and Universal Studios do not allow anyone under 18 to work as a cast member in Disney Parks. However, many of its third-party vendors do use minors and follow the laws that are currently in place in Florida. So, while high school students would not work directly for the parks, they would still be allowed to work for any vendors that either park chose to bring in for additional work.

The law would also allow minors to perform more dangerous work, like climbing on scaffolds or roofs. It would also make it easier for students to drop out of high school and pursue a full-time job.

In addition to these two laws, the Florida Legislature also passed a measure that stripped local governments of the ability to pass laws related to heat restrictions.

By enacting these child labor rollbacks, Florida becomes the 16th state to remove restrictions on work hours for 16- and 17-year-old high school students. Nearly every state that has enacted a law allowing young people to work longer hours has also enacted laws limiting the ability of migrant workers to work in those states.

This has caused a worker shortage of unskilled labor in jobs like construction and hospitality, like at the Walt Disney World Resort.

So now, Disney World can have children working longer hours in dangerous jobs, and these teens cannot protect themselves.

What do you think about Florida removing child labor laws across the state? 

in Disney, Disney Parks, Theme Parks, Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World

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