UTAH - passes Divorce "Orientation" Legislation - 3/2007
TEXAS - proposed Divorce Education Legislation - 2/2009
Marriage Covenant Legislation:
Louisiana (1997), Arizona (1998) and Arkansas (2001) have each passed marriage covenant legislation.
GOVERNOR'S INITIATIVES and Proclamations:
In 1998 and 1999, for the first time, governors in three states, Utah,
Oklahoma, and Arkansas publicly made reducing the divorce rate a goal
of their administration.
- Utah Governor's Commission on Marriage - In 1998, Governor Michael Leavitt
organized the nation's first Governor's Commission on Marriage and charged the Commission
with the task of identifying programs and tools to strengthen
marriage in the state. He and First Lady Jacalyn Leavitt gave the opening
address at the 1999 Smart Marriages conference laying out the blueprints
for Utah's statewide conferences that teach marriage skills to couples.
- The Okalhoma Marriage Initiative - In his January 1999 inaugural address,
Governor Frank Keating declared war on divorce and vowed to reduce the divorce rate by
1/3 by the year 2010 in Oklahoma. In March of 1999, he convened the First Governor's Conference on
Marriage and a year later, in March, 2000, announced a $10 million dollar
comprehensive plan using 10% of the state's surplus welfare TANF funds to promote
awareness of the value of marriage and to provide marriage education programs at all levels.
(http://www.oklaosf.state.ok.us/~governor/regier.htm) He and First Lady Cathy Keating
opened the 2000 Smart Marriages conference and 60 Oklahoma program staff attended
and shared Oklahoma's plans with the rest of the nation. For comprehensive overview
and annual updates on this initiative, order recoredings: #'s 755-418, 753-416, 752-201, 751-201,
"Oklahoma: Leading the Way" at 800-241-7785. 90 min sessions on CD, MP3, cassette: $15 each.
- In October 1999 Arkansas Governor Huckabee, convened a Governor's Conference on
the Family declared a marital emergency and called for a 50% reduction of divorce
in the state and nationally. He encouraged the formation of Community Marriage Policies across
the state and the nation. In April 2001 he signed the Arkansas Marriage Covenant legislation into law.
- In 1998, Flordia Governor Lawton Chiles signed "The Florida marriage Preparation and Preservation
Act of 1998," making Florida the first state to pass marriage education legislation. The act was the
first to require marriage skills education as part of the state's high school curriculum and the first to
offer an incentive for couples taking a marriage education skills course before applying for their
marriage license. The act also mandated divorce education for all couples divorcing with minor children.
- In January 1999 Florida Gov Jeb Bush became the first governor to sign a Community Marriage Policy.
Florida Governor Bush First to Endorse Community Marriage Policy - Mike McManus, Jan 1999
- May 1, 2003, Florida created the Commission on Marriage and Family Support. Legislation replaced the Florida Commission on Responsible Fatherhood with the Commission on Marriage and Family Support. Gov Jeb Bush, in signing the bill, said his goal was to strengthenfamilies - including marriage.
- 2000, Montana Governor's Conference and Council on Marriage and Families
- Louisiana Governor's Commission on Marriage and Family
In March 2001 Governor Mike Foster of Louisiana created the Governor's Commission on Marriage and Family,
chaired by Representative Sharon Broome and Mr. John Hogue. The Commission intends to examine ways to promote
marriage, particularly among populations with low marriage rates, and to remove obstacles created by law
or government that discourage marriage. The Commission receives advice from members of the Governor's staff
including Ms. Dana Reichert who is in charge of coordinating the expenditure of TANF monies in Louisiana.