Scott Walker signs bill ending work permits for 16- and 17-year-olds

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill authorizing delivery robots, such as this one by Starship Technologies, to operate on sidewalks and crosswalks.

TODD RICHMOND, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Gov. Scott Walker signed 10 bills into law Wednesday, including measures that allow delivery robots on sidewalks and end work permits for 16- and 17-year-olds.

Two of the bills drew opposition from Democrats, including one that eliminates the phrase "child labor" from statutes and replaces it with "the employment of minors." The law turns back a century-old requirement that teenagers obtain a parent's signature and permit in order to work.

Republicans said the bill is a barrier to employment for some low-income youth and a needless government intrusion. Democrats and labor unions said it prevents parents from being able to control the work/school balance for their children. More than 70,000 permits were issued to 16- and 17-year-olds last year.

The other bill that drew objections clarified a recently updated definition of restaurants so that venues such as brewpubs, movie theaters, concession stands and painting studios could qualify for a liquor license.

Among the eight bills that passed the Assembly and Senate without opposition is one requiring personal delivery devices to follow pedestrian rules. Such robots must be equipped with a brake system and a plate or marker identifying the name and contact information of its operator. They can now legally use crosswalks unless prohibited by local ordinance.

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Matthew DeFour covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.