INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — State Sen. Chip Perfect is setting aside his push this year to scrap Indiana child labor laws amid conflict-of-interest scrutiny that arose from his employment of hundreds of minors.
Instead, the Republican from Lawrenceburg and CEO of a southeastern Indiana ski resort filed an amendment to Senate Bill 342 asking lawmakers to study child labor laws in an interim study committee this summer, a move that likely would put off a similar measure at least until 2020.
But his involvement in the bill to begin with — and the ethics committee ruling that it wasn’t a conflict of interest — points to a larger issue: In a so-called citizen legislature, whose members usually have full-time jobs elsewhere, the line between a lawmaker’s expertise and potential conflicts can be blurry.
Perfect defended his decision to file the original legislation during a Wednesday committee hearing, but said he was amending the bill because of the increased attention and negative consequences for his business and family.
“In this citizen legislature, turns out we have lawyers every day who pass laws, we have people that work for utilities that pass bills helping utilities, we have farmers that are legislators that pass legislation to help farmers,” Perfect said. “That’s the nature of a citizen legislature.”