ST. PAUL, Minn. — Monday began the last week of the 2017 session for lawmakers at the Capitol in St. Paul.
A bipartisan effort to pass FGM laws
Members of the Minnesota House spoke loudly as they joined together in a bipartisan effort to overwhelmingly pass a law that would increase the criminal penalties associated with female genital mutilation.
On Monday, lawmakers voted 124-4 in favor of passing the bill, but not before some serious discussion on the floor from the four democrats who voted against the measure.
Gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tina Liebling (D-Rochester) argued that no one had addressed the issue of the parents being deported, stating, that a felony is grounds for deportation. Rep. Rena Moran (D-St. Paul) linked FGM to spanking calling them both “cultural pieces.” Moran also argued that we should look for another alternative so we didn’t add more people to the criminal justice system.
Others like Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center) told members of the body, “I’ve wept more for the people who were not taken out of the home, over those who have,” when it came to the removal of those children from their home.
The bill was amended to clarify that only those who perform or have knowledge of an FGM procedure in the United States will be held criminally liable. Procedures that occur outside of the United States before an individual immigrates to the United States will not be considered criminal activity.
Back to the Drawing Board for Republicans
Gov. Mark Dayton has vetoed all ten omnibus bills passed by House and Senate Republicans. Republicans now have until midnight Monday to come up with ten brand new spending bills or face a government shutdown. Dayton vetoed five bills before his fishing trip in St. Cloud for the fishing opener and vetoed the remaining five on Monday, a process from start to finish that took approximately one hour.
Vetoing the Public Safety Omnibus bill, Dayton described the bill as, “providing little funding for the most important responsibilities of government, to protect our citizens and improve public safety for all Minnesotans.”
“This bill prioritizes unsustainable tax cuts now and into the future over investments in prekindergarten, higher education, and economic development that will grow opportunities for hardworking Minnesotans in our state,” Dayton wrote in response to the Omnibus Tax Bill that Republicans claimed would return more than a billion dollars to citizens.
Dayton vetoed the Omnibus Higher Education Appropriations bill stating the legislature did not give colleges enough money. “The bill you sent me provides less than 39% of that investment,” Dayton wrote.
If Republicans and Democrats cannot come up with an agreed upon budget solution before midnight Monday, a government shutdown and special session will be imminent.