Minnesota's 87th legislative session adjourned May 10th, 2012. This blog post will review the final child welfare-related actions taken by the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Dayton, including one new law and one pocket veto. (As this is the second year of the biennium, any bills presented to Governor Dayton in the last three days of session that he does not sign are considered "pocket vetoed" due to his lack of action.)
S.F. 1679 was signed into law by Governor Dayton on April 30, 2012. This bill extended the authorization for multiple councils so that their expiration date is now June 30, 2014. The councils included within this bill are the American Indian Advisory Council, the Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Advisory Council, and the State Traumatic Brain Injury Program Advisory Committee.
H.F. 322, which changed the custody presumption for divorcing fathers from 25 percent to 35 percent passed the last night of the legislative session but was not signed into law by Governor Dayton, resulting in a "pocket veto." In a letter to the Speaker of the House dated May 24, 2012, Governor Dayton stated,
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. There is enough uncertainty about all of the ramifications of this legislation to persuade me to give pause to its enactment.Governor Dayton also indicated a commitment to revisit this issue and work to pass a bill in the next Legislative Session.
The remainder of the bills that were not yet passed, effectively died in committee. For more details on these please see the Child Welfare Bill Tracking sheet on the CASCW website.