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Idaho lawmakers eager to work on child support enforcement

Gov. Butch Otter has ordered a special legislative session for May 18.
Statehouse

BOISE -- Gov. Butch Otter has ordered a special legislative session for May 18. Members of the House and Senate will only address the failed child support enforcement bill.

"It was certainly something I was hoping for," said House Minority Leader John Rusche after the special session was announced.

Senate Bill 1067 was killed by the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee at the very end of the regular session by a 9-8 vote.

Some lawmakers raised concerns the federal requirements threatened Idaho's sovereignty and could force the state to uphold Sharia court rulings.

Rusche has been outspoken ever since the bill failed.

"I think the reason it didn't pass last time is that Republican house members and leadership took their eye off the ball and didn't pay attention to what was going on," added Rusche.

Speaker of the House Scott Bedke says the bill should have been addressed before the final hours of the regular session.

"Letting it go and come up in the last week and certainly in the last day is not the way to handle a bill this important," he said.

Bedke has been working with Reps. Luker, Trujillo, Dayley and Kerby to make amendments to the child support bill. Leaders at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare have also been providing input.

The House speaker says those amendments will address out-of state jurisdiction and security concerns.

"The Legislature is full of independent thinkers, but I think on this subject at this point, everyone is a lot more educated than they were a month ago," added Bedke.

Rep. Christy Perry is on the House committee that tabled the child support bill.

She voted for the original bill, but says more time to sort out the legislation is a good thing.

"Members of the committee have been deeply involved, but not only that, other House members have also been following the story and now I think they really understand really what the ramifications of not passing the bill are," said Perry.

She told KTVB that when the special session starts on May 18, lawmakers will be willing to take a second look and make an informed decision.

"It's going to be done soundly with a lot of background and a lot of research into it and I think you're going to get a much better product," she said.

Idaho has 155,000 child support cases. Department of Health and Welfare officials say about 100 of those cases involve foreign countries.

This is the first special session Gov. Otter has called in his three terms.