A while ago, I wrote about a bill making its way through the Minnesota legislature. At first, the bill was going to take the presumption of parenting in cases of divorce from 75%-25% to 45%-45%, with the remaining 10% to be worked out by the divorcing parties. Effectively, that means that dads would go from 25% to 45%.
In committee, the bill was gutted, merely raising the 25% that goes to dads to 35%, but it finally got out of committee, to the floors of the House and Senate, and passed both houses.
Yesterday, Governor Mark Dayton — a divorced father himself — sided with the divorce industry and vetoed the bill, defying the will of the people of the state and of our representatives. Yet he thought it wise to spend a bunch of his political capital embarrassingly cheerleading for public funds to build a billion-dollar Taj Mahal for the NFL.
In his explanation letter, he even admits to being swayed by lobbyists, rather than listening to the citizens of the state:
“People and parties on both sides of the legislation share the same good faith intentions rooted in their shared desire to prescribe what will be best for every parent and, especially, every child ensnared in the painful dissolution of a marriage,” Dayton wrote. “Torn between the persuasive arguments of both proponents and opponents of the legislation, I am particularly influenced by the strong opposition of so many organizations (although not all of 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.”
I testified at a Senate committee. There was only one organization that spoke against the bill: the Society of Matrimonial Lawyers. That is, the lobbyist for divorce lawyers.
I’m not objective, but many of the commenters on the StarTribune website agree with me: Governor Mark Dayton is a coward.
Jesse Ventura may have been crazy, but at least he had the gumption to stand up to special interests. I long for those days.