Ruud bill protecting Paul Bunyan Land, youth workers, passes Senate
For over 15 years, amusement parks in Minnesota utilized a waiver system, which allowed them to hire 16- and 17-year-olds to operate rides, provided they had permission from their parents and received substantial safety training.
A bill authored by Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to operate amusement park rides, including at Paul Bunyan Land, was passed by the Minnesota Senate.
"Many folks around the state remember visiting Paul Bunyan Land as a child," Ruud said in a news release. "This session I authored legislation that will benefit our upcoming workforce and preserve the iconic park that holds magic for all who visit."
For over 15 years, amusement parks in Minnesota utilized a waiver system, which allowed them to hire 16- and 17-year-olds to operate rides, provided they had permission from their parents and received substantial safety training. In 2019, the routine request submitted by Paul Bunyan Land was denied and the park struggled to find seasonal, part-time workers as they were no longer permitted to hire from the age group that makes up a significant part of their seasonal workforce.
Ruud authored S.F. 3358, which establishes guidelines and a structure for the operation of amusement park rides and allows minors, ages 16 and 17, to be employed. Thorough safety requirements are established in the bill and include training on operating procedures, duties of their assigned position, park safety procedures for unusual situations, and evacuation plans for the amusement ride. This legislation restores the park’s ability to hire the employees needed to operate and provides many young adults with an excellent employment opportunity, supporters stated. S.F. 3358 passed the Minnesota Senate with a nearly unanimous vote.
"Our young adults deserve access to employment that encourages the development of work ethic, personal responsibility, and quality customer service and I am happy that this bill will allow Paul Bunyan Land to continue teaching them those valuable skills,” Ruud added in the release. “Paul Bunyan Land is a Minnesota tradition and a treasured part of our district and I hope the park will continue spreading its magic for years to come.”