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Governor Calls Special Legislative Session to Consider Child Support Bill


Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke, Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter and Lt. Gov. - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke, Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter and Lt. Gov.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter announced a special session of the Idaho Legislature this morning to take up a bill that would enable the Gem State to continue using a federal database to track and collect child support payments. 

Specifically, the special session, which is set for May 18, has been called to address what Otter referred to as "the failure of Senate Bill 1067," which would have brought Idaho in line with federal child support guidelines. Idaho processes more than $200 million in child support payments every year.

SB 1067's failure in the House also jeopardizes $16 million in federal child support funds and a further $30 million in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds. Reconvening legislators in Boise will cost the state $35,000-$40,000 per day for travel and assembly expenses. 

The governor said he, the Idaho Department of Health and Human Services and House Speaker Scott Bedke have been working closely with the nine legislators who voted against the passage of SB 1067 to "clear up any misgivings that were initially confronting [the bill] and dismissing some of the ideas that were continuing to circulate that were causing people to have pause that were preventing the legislation from moving forward."

The bill's detractors included Republican Reps. Kathy Sims, Coeur d'Alene; Lynn Luker, Boise; and Sheryl Nuxoll, Cottonwood. Nuxoll told the Idaho House Health and Welfare Committee that the bill, which would have put Idaho in compliance with the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Family Maintenance, could create possible inroads for Sharia law into Idaho—a worry echoed by "anti-Islam" Christian Pastor Shahram Hadian, who has been speaking on the perceived threats of Islam both to lawmakers at public events around the state.

"There is no specific language in the bill that would protect the rights of those dealing with parentage, child support and support orders from a foreign country that would contradict our laws here. There are other countries listed in the treaty—France, Belgium—that have recognized Sharia courts as quasi-courts. So I just feel that you should be aware of those facts," she said. 

Otter said he's confident that a new form of SB 1067 will pass.

"I wasn't going to call a special session if we weren't going to get anything done," he said. "There is no alternative."