State restricts selling by kids

CARSON CITY - Nevada Labor Commissioner Terry Johnson said Tuesday that children under 16 no longer will be allowed to peddle candy and other products door to door for businesses.

Johnson, who reviewed the matter for months, said he reached the decision after talking to educators, police, representatives of youth groups and federal and state officials including Gov. Kenny Guinn.

The ruling affects only children 15 years old and younger who are employed by for-profit companies. The action doesn't apply to children who volunteer to sell products for charitable organizations.

''There was a very troubling, very disturbing pattern over the last decade,'' Johnson said. ''There are some industry trends that troubled me from the get-go. Typically, parents know very little about these companies that hire children, and the companies know very little about the children, including, in some instances, the child's name.''

Johnson also was disturbed by reports of pressure on children to make sales. He said in one instance a child was denied a ride home at night because he didn't sell a certain amount of candy.

Last month, Johnson heard impassioned pleas from representatives of both the for-profit candy-selling industry and nonprofit organizations.

The business operators said the charities pushed for the policy change to shut down the for-profit groups and give the entire lucrative industry to nonprofit organizations.

Opponents of the practice argued that the child employees are learning begging skills to make people sorry for them and buy overpriced candy.

They said the sales pitches also mislead prospective customers into thinking they are supporting nonprofit organizations.


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