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Idaho's 2013 Legislature convened in Boise on January 7. We've put together a guide to the session, including ways to contact your lawmaker, how to get involved, and comprehensive information about the people elected to office.

Idaho Lawmakers Pass Child Support Legislation In Special Session

Samantha Wright
Boise State Public Radio
The Idaho Statehouse

A special session of the Idaho Legislature has passed a bill that brings the state into compliance with federal rules governing child-support payments.

Similar legislation was rejected last month, jeopardizing U.S. involvement in an international treaty that aims to make it easier for parents worldwide to collect child-support payments.

Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter called lawmakers back to Boise recently after nine Republican House members killed a compliance bill, jeopardizing the treaty and state access to federal funds and programs.

The legislation was the sole focus of the special session that began Monday morning.

The House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee met to hear public testimony on the bill.  

During the hearing, Idaho residents gave passionate and emotional testimony for and against the child-support bill.

Katherine Frazier said linking federal funding to the bill amounts to bribery and cited the Bible in her opposition, saying "fire shall devour the houses of bribes."

Bob Neugebauer said the legislation isn't about child support, "it's about extortion by our federal government trying to engage all of our states of the union to ratify a treaty."

Such critics were met by those who said Idaho's rejection could leave families across the U.S. facing a burdensome international system that makes it difficult — sometimes impossible — for parents to collect payments.

Others pointed to the effect the rejection would have on the state based on the loss of $46 million in federal funds and access to payment processing systems, including automatic payroll deductions.

The House committee advanced the plan on a 12-5 vote. The full House followed suit, approving the plan on a 49-21 vote after lawmakers debated for nearly two hours.

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, maintained his opposition, saying Idaho would sell its sovereignty by passing the bill.

And Rep. Kathleen Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, who also voted against the bill again today, says she's proud she's one of the nine lawmakers who originally killed the proposed during the regular legislative session in April.

Next, a Senate panel quickly passed the bill, handing it over to the full Senate. Senators voted 33-2 in favor of the bill, which now heads to the governor's desk to be signed into law.

As Senior Producer of our live daily talk show Idaho Matters, I’m able to indulge my love of storytelling and share all kinds of information (I was probably a Town Crier in a past life!). My career has allowed me to learn something new everyday and to share that knowledge with all my friends on the radio.

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