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January 2008, Vol. 131, No. 1
State labor legislation enacted in 2007
John J. Fitzpatrick, Jr., and James L. Perine
The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for tracking various categories of labor legislation and reporting on any amendments or new laws falling under those categories and enacted by States. More than 30 categories are tracked during this yearly process. Among the categories tracked are agriculture, child labor, State departments of labor, the discharge of employees, drug and alcohol testing, equal employment opportunity, employment agencies, employer leasing, family issues, genetic testing, handicapped workers, hours worked, human trafficking, immigrant protections, inmate labor, living wages, the minimum wage, offsite work, overtime, plant closings, prevailing wages, the right to work, time off, unfair labor practices, wages paid, whistleblower protections, worker privacy, and workplace security. Not every piece of enacted legislation that comes within the purview of one of these categories is addressed in this article. Among the laws that are not addressed are those which (1) amend existing State law, but are strictly technical in nature, (2) affect only a limited number of individuals, (3) require the initiation, completion, or distribution of a study of an issue, or (4) deal with funding matters related to an issue. Also not covered are areas of labor legislation that concentrate on issues relating to occupational safety and health, employment and training, labor relations, employee background checks (except for those dealing with potential national security issues), economic security, and local-area living wage ordinances.
A larger volume of State labor legislation was enacted during 2007 than during the previous year. The increase was due in part to the fact that, unlike the situation in 2006, all 50 State legislatures and the District of Columbia met in regularly scheduled sessions in 2007. The labor legislation that was enacted or amended by the States and the District last year addressed a variety of issues in 26 employment standards areas and included many important measures.
This excerpt is from an article published in the January 2008 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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