A bill to exempt Western Hockey League teams from child-labor laws is making good progress through the Legislature.
The state House of Representatives has passed a bill to exempt the state’s four Western Hockey League teams from state laws restricting child labor.
Under Senate Bill 5893, which passed Wednesday in a 92-6 vote, the mostly 16- to 20-year olds who play for Washington’s four teams in the 22-team Western Hockey League (WHL) won’t be considered “employees” for legal purposes. The players, many of whom are attempting to play their way onto National Hockey League teams, earn small stipend checks and a year of college scholarship for every year they’re on WHL teams.
The state’s Department of Labor and Industries has an open investigation into possible child labor-law violations by the state’s four WHL teams. The bill to exempt those teams from that law now moves back to the Senate, which approved a version with slightly different language in a 47-0 vote March 3.