(KMOV) – The Missouri House approved a new budget with many painful cuts – one of which would deal a huge blow to the Department of Labor.
The cuts would get rid of all the investigators who look into child labor and minimum wage complaints.
Lara Granich, director of Missouri Jobs for Justice has a hard time believing the cuts. "This puts workers terribly at risk of unscrupulous employers,” she says. “If a worker is being denied a fair wage, or children in dangerous condition, there's no one to do anything about them."
Lawmakers in Jefferson City plan to slash all nine Missouri labor investigators. Those investigators primarily investigate suspected violations in three areas: child labor laws, minimum wages and prevailing wages.
In 2010, those investigators discovered more than $450,000 violations of child labor laws in Missouri and recovered more than $700,000 for workers from minimum and prevailing wage violations.
In a political climate where budget cutting wins voters, some Democrats in Jefferson City see this as going too far. "I understand that all state departments and agencies are taking cuts, but I don't recall that we've ever eliminated completely one whole group of people that enforce our laws," says Missouri Rep. Jacob Hummel.
News 4 was unable to reach a lawmaker who supported these cuts.
The proposed budget cuts will now head to the state Senate.