In September 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its intention to revise child labor regulations for agriculture (RIN: 1235-AA06). The DOL invited public participation through submission of written comments to the Federal Register. Over 10,000 comments were received. Commenting on rulemaking is a key form of public participation, giving interested and affected parties a window of opportunity for voice in the regulation process.
This paper is a content analysis of the comments received by the DOL. NVivo software was used to code and classify a random sample of 1000 comments, distinguishing (1) stakeholder groups; (2) key concerns/themes addressed; and (3) degree of support for the proposed changes. The results of the analysis showed a lack of support for the proposal, which corresponds with the DOL's decision to withdraw the proposal in April 2012. A bottom-up participatory approach is a suggested next step to increase buy-in for future children's agricultural safety policy.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. December 2012. Major: Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy. Advisor: Jennifer Kuzma. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 120 pages, appendices A-J.
Roberts, Megan Luanne.
The safety of farm children and youth: understanding reactions to proposed DOL regulatory changes.
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