LITTLE ROCK — Members of Arkansas’ congressional delegation are trying a second time to ease regulations on events where children’s clothes are sold on consignment.
The effort was inspired by Conway-based Rhea Lana’s Franchise System, which was told by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2013 that it was violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by using volunteers as workers for a for-profit business, with no hourly wages or overtime pay provided.
The business has maintained that allowing people — mostly mothers and grandmothers with children’s clothing items they wished to sell — to volunteer their time setting up at sales events is not a labor violation. In exchange for their work, the volunteers are given early access to the events and a discount on items they buy.
Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., and then Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, filed matching bills in 2013 to declare that volunteers at a children’s consignment event are not employees as defined in the Fair Labor Standards Act. The bill died in committee.
Boozman, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, said Tuesday they have introduced new matching Senate and House versions of the legislation, titled the Children’s Consignment Event Recognition Act.
“DOL’s outdated policy interferes with the ability of Arkansas families to buy affordable clothes, toys and furniture at children’s consignment events,” they said in a joint news release.
The Senate bill has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The House bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Workforce.