Monday, March 31, 2008

A Bonoff excuse?

Trying to wrap my mind around the MDE / Bonoff posts and her campaign response over at Publius.

This bill was authored with the best of intentions, but it became clear could be used as a vehicle for anti-choice legislation, particularly because the bill’s language had changed during the interim.


Interesting...

On the Senate side, SF 1739, the Grieving Parents Act, was introduced on 3/12/2007. According to the Minnesota Senate site, the legislation, on the Senate side, has remained unchanged, other than Senator Bonoff striking her name from the bill on 3/13/2008 and Senator Betsy Wergin becoming the Chief Author.

The substantive change comes on the House side, in the House version of this bill, HF 0599.


The House version was introduced on 2/5/2007.

The amendment in question came on 3/8/2007.

Thissen from the Committee on Health and Human Services to which was referred:

H. F. No. 599, A bill for an act relating to health; establishing the Grieving Parents Act; requiring a mother to be notified of burial and cremation options in the case of a miscarriage; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 145.

Reported the same back with the following amendments:

Page 1, line 10, after "miscarriage" insert "occurring after a gestation period of less than 20 weeks"


It's easy to see the slippery slope on choice here.

However, Bonoff offered the bill 4 days after this amendment was made.

The House version of the bill was returned to committee, per House Rule 4.20 for the interim period between sessions.

The House version of the bill returned in 2008 to be amended again.

Thissen from the Committee on Health and Human Services to which was referred:

H. F. No. 599, A bill for an act relating to health; establishing the Grieving Parents Act; requiring a mother to be notified of burial and cremation options in the case of a miscarriage; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 145.

Reported the same back with the following amendments:

Page 1, line 21, delete "2007" and insert "2008"

With the recommendation that the bill be amended without further recommendation.

The report was adopted.


No "changes" were made in the interim. In fact, substantive changes occurred to the House Bill BEFORE Senator Bonoff offered her bill in the Senate.

From my perspective, Bonoff just offered a pretty lame excuse for pulling her name from this bill.

MDE has a post up about a conversation amongst people who worked with Bonoff on the legislation.

In my interview, LeVang and Maclean had harsh words about Bonoff's handling of this legislation. They claim Bonoff "mismanaged" the Grieving Parents Act in the Minnesota Senate, they feel Bonoff misled them about outside groups being concerned about the phantom language changes in the bill and that Bonoff being focused on her congressional campaign, delayed legislative activity in the Minnesota Senate.

LeVang said "we don't want to say liar liar pants on fire, but there's a lot of inconsistencies here. [Bonoff] stretches the truth to fit her own scenario."

Maclean's criticism goes even further. She claims Bonoff specifically told her in a phone coversation that she "didn't really know this congressional seat would be coming available" and that she'd "been very busy with the campaign." Maclean said Bonoff coldly told her that "your bill is no longer a priority for me."


"Your bill is no longer a priority for me." If true, damning words from a Congressional candidate.

Regardless of the spin from MDE and other right wing bloggers who will jump on this, the story from the Bonoff campaign fails the integrity test for me.


Bonoff offered the legislation. She offered it after the controversial language in the House version was added. With a veto proof majority in the Senate and a strong majority in the House, surely something like that could have been negotiated via conference committee.

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