THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

99

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

RATIFYING A Proposed Amendment to the Constitution of the United States Giving The Congress OF THE United States power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age.

 

 


     WHEREAS, unregulated child labor has detrimental effect on the health and welfare of children; and

 

     WHEREAS, the 1900 census revealed that approximately two million children were working in mills, mines, fields, factories, stores, and on city streets across the United States, which helped spark a national movement to end child labor in the United States; and

 

     WHEREAS, in 1916, the Congress of the United States (Congress) passed its first child labor bill, the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act of 1916, which attempted to regulate child labor by prohibiting the interstate shipment of goods produced by any factory, shop, or cannery that employed children under the age of fourteen; any mine that employed children under the age of sixteen; and any facility where children under the age of sixteen worked at night or for more than eight hours during the day; and

 

     WHEREAS, Congress cited to the federal government's ability to regulate interstate commerce as its authority to pass the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act, however, the Supreme Court of the United States in Hammer v. Dagenhart, 247 U.S. 251 (1918), delineated between the Congress's power to regulate production and commerce, and ruled that the law was unconstitutional as it overstepped the purpose of the government's powers to regulate interstate commerce; and

 

     WHEREAS, in 1918, Congress passed its second child labor bill as part of the Revenue Act of 1919, also called the Child Labor Tax Law, which took an indirect route to regulate child labor by using the government's power to levy taxes; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Child Labor Tax Law was also found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co., 259 U.S. 20 (1922), which reasoned that the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce does not extend to curbing the power of the states to regulate local trade; and

 

     WHEREAS, despite the nation's apparent desire for federal laws against child labor, the rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States left little room for federal legislation, and therefore, Congress proposed a constitutional amendment through a joint resolution to give itself the power to regulate labor of persons under eighteen years of age; and

 

     WHEREAS, House Joint Resolution 184, approved by the Sixty-Eighth Congress, First Session (House Joint Resolution 184), reads as follows:

 

"JOINT RESOLUTION

 

     Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

 

     Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), that the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by the legislature of three-fourths of the several States, shall be valid to all intents and purposes as a part of the Constitution:

 

"ARTICLE

 

     Section 1.  The Congress shall have power to limit, regulate, and prohibit the labor of persons under eighteen years of age.

 

     Section 2.  The power of the several States is unimpaired by this article except that the operation of State laws shall be suspended to the extent necessary to give effect to legislation enacted by the Congress."";

 

and

 

     WHEREAS, House Joint Resolution 184 was submitted to the state legislatures for ratification; and

 

     WHEREAS, ratification of House Joint Resolution 184 stalled after 1925, due to an effective campaign to discredit it, including traditional states' rights arguments against increases in the power of the federal government and accusations that the amendment was a communist-inspired plot to subvert the United States Constitution; and

 

     WHEREAS, by 1937, when the most recent state ratified House Joint Resolution 184, only twenty-eight states had ratified it, which fell short of the required three-fourths threshold required for a constitutional amendment; and

 

     WHEREAS, the proposal for the constitutional amendment is still outstanding since Congress did not set a time limit for its ratification, and ratification by ten more states is required to add the amendment to the United States Constitution; and

 

     WHEREAS, fifteen states have rejected and refused to subsequently ratify House Joint Resolution 184, and Hawaii is one of the five states that have no record of taking action on the proposed constitutional amendment; and

 

     WHEREAS, federal regulation of child labor in the United States is now provided under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, however, ratification of the constitutional amendment set forth in House Joint Resolution 184 would put Hawaii on the right side of history; now, therefore,

 

     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Article proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States as set forth in United States House Joint Resolution 184, dated June 2, 1924, be hereby ratified by the Legislature of the State of Hawaii; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Administrator of the United States General Services Administration, President of the United States Senate, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and members of Hawaii's congressional delegation.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title: 

United States Constitution; Child Labor Amendment; Ratification