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January 2007, Vol. 130, No. 1
State labor legislation enacted in 2006
John J. Fitzpatrick, Jr.
States enacted a volume of labor legislation in 2006 that was significantly less than that enacted in 2005. The decrease was due in part to the fact that only 44 States and the District of Columbia met in regular session during 2006, while the remaining 6 States (Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, Oregon, and Texas) were not scheduled to meet in regular session. (All 50 States had met in regular session in 2005.) Several of the 6 States that did not meet in regular session did, however, convene in special sessions dedicated to various issues of special interest. At the time this article was submitted for publication, 42 of the 50 States, along with the District of Columbia, had enacted or amended labor legislation of consequence during 2006 in the categories that are tracked. Although they met in regular session, Mississippi and Nebraska did not enact significant legislation in the fields covered.1 In addition, representatives from the Government of Guam responded by providing information regarding significant labor legislation enacted in their locality during the past year. Such information had not been received from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands at the time this article was submitted.
Currently, more than 30 categories of labor legislation introduced and then enacted by the States are tracked by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor: agriculture, child labor, State departments of labor, employee discharge, drug and alcohol testing, equal employment opportunity, employee leasing, employment agencies, family leave, garments, genetic testing, hours worked, human trafficking, immigrant protection, inmate labor, living wages, minimum wages, offsite work, overtime, plant closings, employee preference, prevailing wages, right to work, time off, unfair labor practices, wage payments and collection, whistleblowers, worker privacy, workplace security, workplace violence, and other labor-related issues that might be of general interest. Not every enacted piece of legislation that falls into one of these categories is discussed in this article; among the laws that are excluded are those which (1) amend existing State law, but are strictly technical in nature, (2) affect a limited number of individuals, (3) require or distribute a study of an issue, or (4) deal with funding related to an issue.
This excerpt is from an article published in the January 2007 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 Several tables displaying information on State labor laws, including tables on current and historical State minimum-wage rates and a table on State prevailing-wage laws, along with tables concerning child labor issues, are available on the Internet at the Employment Standards Administration website, www.dol.gov/esa/programs/whd/state/state.htm.
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