Gov. Otter: ‘We are engaged, and we are going to do something.’

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter spoke to the media Thursday morning assessing the 2015 legislative session, and addressed the child support bill that was tabled, SB 1067. Otter said he is working with lawmakers to find a solution.

“I think it’s important that we understand the consequences of doing nothing,” he said.

Media questions focused on a possible special session for the Legislature to address the issue. “I’m not prepared to stand up here today and tell you I’m going to call a special session, because I think there’s a lot of homework to do, in that if we were to have a special session, that we have a successful one,” Otter said. “We are engaged, and we are going to do something.”

Otter invited DHW Director Richard Armstrong to the podium to announce that the department is preparing a letter for the 155,000 Idaho households with child support orders. That letter will outline the effects of not passing SB1067. It is part of the department’s legal obligation as well as an attempt to help people plan for the disruption that not receiving child support payments will cause.

“Folks will have to make big adjustments in their budgets and their daily lives if we are unable to transfer this money to their households,” Armstrong said.

Otter said his office and Legislative leaders have been addressing a lot of the issues surrounding that bill that were not factual, and he’s hopeful the letter to the Idaho families who will be directly affected by a lack of a uniform child support law will help clear up any misunderstanding.

“We’re confident that letter to 155,000 households will encourage people to engage with their legislators” and his office, he said. He also said federal partners have indicated a willingness to allow the state to make some changes to the code section to address concerns, highlighting adjustments Wyoming and Utah made in approving the same legislation.

DHW is researching those changes and will post information as an analysis is completed.

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