Eye On Boise

SATURDAY, APRIL 11, 2015, 12:30 A.M.

Move to pull child support bill out of committee fails; House prepares to adjourn sine die

A grim Rep. John Rusche, his voice nearly gone, with the new version of the child support enforcement bill that he wasn't allowed to introduce on Friday; per House rules, the new version he prepared was one word different from the rejected one, so that it wasn't identical. (Betsy Russell)
A grim Rep. John Rusche, his voice nearly gone, with the new version of the child support enforcement bill that he wasn't allowed to introduce on Friday; per House rules, the new version he prepared was one word different from the rejected one, so that it wasn't identical. (Betsy Russell)

Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, moved to call the child support enforcement bill, SB 1067, from the House Judiciary & Rules Committee, where it was tabled earlier today on a 9-8 vote. Committee Chairman Rich Wills opposed the motion. “We had two days of testimony … to answer everybody’s questions that was on the committee,” he told the House.

Rusche said, “This is a bill of immense, immense consequences to the state of Idaho, to the state but mostly to the children of the state of Idaho, those that depend on child support payments for keeping body and soul together.” His voice cracking with fatigue, Rusche told the House, “This bill is required so that we can participate in the federal child support system. Without that participation, it will be very difficult, maybe impossible, to collect the over $200 million in child support payments that our Health & Welfare Department collects and dispenses. The vote in the Judiciary & Rules Committee was only by 1, it was a 9-8 vote. It was on the last day of the session, and Mr. Speaker, I believe that such a monumental decision with such potentially dire consequences for the families of Idaho deserves an up or down vote of this body, and not simply by the Jud & Rules Committee.”

Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, said she supported the bill in the committee, but opposed the move to call it out; she asked the House to respect the committee process.

Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, said, “I do believe that this could result in a special session – that’s how serious this is. This is not a partisan issue. This is something that needs to be taken very seriously.”

Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, said, “There is grave circumstance … $200 million is at jeopardy for our children. ... I am asking that we please not worry about the time and do our jobs right.”

Wills said he considers the vote a procedural one. “I cannot debate the merits,” he said. He asked House members to support the committee.

At nearly 1:30 a.m., the move failed on a 49-12 vote, with only minority Democrats dissenting.

The House then began preparing to adjourn sine die; it did so at 1:36 a.m.




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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