Gov. Otter convenes special legislative session for child support bill

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter issued a proclamation today to convene a special session of the Idaho Legislature on Monday, May 18, to consider a bill that will bring Idaho’s Child Support Program into national compliance.

“It is a great relief to us that Gov. Otter is initiating this opportunity for lawmakers to reconsider legislation that is good for our children and good for our state,” Department of Health and Welfare Director Richard Armstrong said. “We know the extreme hardships that could occur if we don’t fix this. We have great confidence in our legislators that they will resolve this for the sake of our children.” 

During the special session, new legislation will be introduced in both the House and Senate that replaces a similar bill that was tabled during the regular legislative session.  The new bill will need to contain the uniform legislation that all states are adopting for handling interstate and foreign child support orders. The Governor said the bill is still being worked on, but he hoped it will be available soon to share with legislators and the public.

The session is expected to last one day. The Governor’s proclamation says the Legislature will have no power to consider any other subjects during the special session.

The original bill, SB 1067, was tabled by a 9-8 vote in the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration committee during the final hours of the 2015 legislative session. If it had passed, SB 1067 would have allowed Idaho to meet new federal standards for processing interstate and foreign child support orders under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. However, failure of the 2015 legislation places Idaho out of compliance with the federal child support enforcement program.

During the past two weeks, Director Armstrong has been working closely with the Governor’s office and lawmakers in trying to find a solution. Without federal compliance, Idaho is at risk of being cut off from federal tools that are vital for collecting child support for Idaho families, as well as up to $46 million in federal funding. The federal government has given Idaho until June 12 to bring the program into compliance.

States have been advocating and adopting uniform laws for child support since 1984. Having a strong interstate child support system holds parents accountable for their children, even if they move to different states. Many of the states, including Idaho, have been key players in developing the uniform legislation that all states are now in the process of approving.

Read Gov. Otter’s proclamation here.

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