- Associated Press - Saturday, May 16, 2015

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho lawmakers are heading back to Boise on Monday to address failed legislation that has sent the state’s child support enforcement and collection system into jeopardy.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter ordered the special legislative session to reverse the decision of nine lawmakers who killed the bill the last day of the regular session more than a month ago.

Opponents said the bill -which was pitched as a simple measure that would update the state’s child support system to comply with federal regulations- would allow Islamic laws to trump federal and state laws. Supporters of the bill counter that Sharia law has never threatened U.S. laws.


State and federal officials have warned that killing the bill jeopardizes negotiations to ratify an international treaty, as well as the state’s ability to collect payments within its own borders. Congress is requiring all 50 states to pass this compliance bill or risk losing $46 million in federal child support funds and access to federal tools used to enforce child support payments. The U.S. also needs every state to pass the bill because it is part of negotiations to improve child support collection oversees.


Otter released his proposed amendments to the child support bill earlier this month. The amended legislation doesn’t change the wording surrounding the child support compliance section. Instead, it adds a new section that says the state can’t enforce any orders incompatible with Idaho law. It also instructs the state Department of Health and Welfare to install measures to secure personal data from being leaked.


Otter and legislative leaders seem hopeful it will pass. Otter says they worked with opponents of the first bill to find a new deal that would satisfy all sides. However, even the amended version has received criticisms from groups like the Idaho Freedom Foundation. The conservative think tank has argued that the bill still threatens state sovereignty and bows down to the federal government demands.

It’s still unknown how the public is reacting to the new bill. Lawmakers will have a chance to find out what the public thinks of the measure. The joint House and Senate Judicial, Rules and Administration Committee will listen to public testimony Monday morning.


Otter told reporters earlier this month that the special session will cost about $36,000 a day. However, Otter and legislative leaders expect lawmakers will pass a new deal in hours, rather than days.

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