President signs Pitts' Amish labor bill

Intelligencer-Journal (Lancaster)/January 27, 2004
By Justin Quinn

President Bush signed legislation Friday giving Amish teenagers greater freedom as they enter the workforce when their formal education is complete.

The bill, which became law with the president's signature, died twice in the Senate before being passed in last year's final session as part of a large spending measure.

The legislation was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts, a Kennett Square Republican who represents Lancaster County.

With the passage of the bill into law, Amish youths now are eligible to work in woodworking and carpentry shops if they are age 14 to 18, are "a member of a religious sect or division whose established teachings do not permit formal education beyond the eighth grade" and are supervised by an adult relative or member of their religious sect or division.

"It is my understanding that the law takes effect immediately," Pitts' spokesman, Derek Karchner, said Monday. "It will be implemented as soon as the Labor Department can adjust its regulations."

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