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May 25, 2012 – Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton Bows to Special Interests:  Refuses children a full relationship with both parents.

On May 24 the Governor of Minnesota issued this letter indicating his vetoing of legislation intended to give children a fuller relationship with both parents in the event of divorce or filing for legal separation.  In the letter the Governor Dayton indicates he was…”particularly influence by the strong opposition of so many organizations (although not all their members), who work every day with the most challenging divorces and their effects on the well-being, and even the safety of parents and children.”

Everyone reading this should understand the governor vetoed this bill based on the special interests of the bar association and domestic violence coalitions; two special interests deriving their livelihoods at the expense of our nation’s families and children.

Going further the governor states: “…hopefully, collaboration among legislators of both parties and the various stakeholders should continue into the 2013 Legislative Session…”

What the governor fails to note is that the bar association and DV groups have been against this legislation since its introduction.  What the good citizens, children and parents of Minnesota are likely to be rewarded with next year is a bill crafted by the bar association and domestic violence coalitions that does little but benefit their particular special interests. 

The facts are these.  All the protections for victims of abuse, and abuse victims deserve protection, were unaffected by the legislation.  All judicial discretion was retained.  The bill was passed overwhelmingly by both chambers of the legislature, with bipartisan support.  In the Senate the vote was 46-19 in favor and in the House 86-42 in favor.  The House had passed an earlier, better version of the legislation by an 80-53 margin.  The Senate judiciary committee refused to bring that bill forward altogether.

The governor indicates a commitment to producing legislation next year, just as likely however is the governor hopes for a change of majorities in the House and Senate which will empower the special interests further and make hope of substantive progress more tenuous.  If current Senate judiciary committee leadership changes, new committee leadership will likely be even more hostile to this type of legislation.

Molly Olson of the Center for Parental Responsibility, who tirelessly led the fight for HF322 issued this statement.

We thank the legislators who had the courage to vote to do right by the families of Minnesota only to be slapped in the face by their governor.

The simple fact is this:  Special interests and their associated bureaucracies will continue to plunder the families of Minnesota at the expense of kids relationship with both parents. 

This is a dark day for Minnesota’s children and parents.