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Eye On Boise

Sharia law fears from nine lawmakers could dismantle Idaho’s child support enforcement system

Here’s a link to the full AP story on how an Idaho House panel voted 9-8 today to kill legislation to bring the state into compliance with federal child-support collection rules after some lawmakers said they were concerned about Sharia law influencing Idaho's enforcement authority; the House Judiciary Committee voted to table the bill, which means it'd take a 2/3 vote to take it back up.

Idaho child support program director Kandace Yearsley said the committee's decision has placed Idaho at risk of losing nearly $46 million in federal child-support funding as well as access to the federal enforcement tools used to collect child-support payments from parents living in other states. "I don't know of any other state going through this," said Yearsley, visibly shocked minutes after the committee voted. "There's no prior case. We are the first."

Yearsley added that the committee's actions not only risk Idaho losing access to state enforcement tools but also risks the United States from being disqualified from the 2007 Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support, because the convention requires that all states agree to be in compliance in order to participate, she said.

House Speaker Scott Bedke told AP reporter Kimberlee Kruesi that GOP leaders would not introduce new legislation Friday evening in order to save SB 1067. "I don't see it delaying the session," Bedke said. "It stands as of right now."

House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said, "According to Health & Welfare, and I've talked to a couple of people there, with this vote (the state) will not be able to process child support payments through the federal system. That's $200 million in support for the children of Idaho." That's $200 million a year. Rusche, a retired pediatrician, said he's contacting Gov. Butch Otter to ask him to keep lawmakers in town until they fix it. "I think this is just about the worst vote that I've seen in a long time," Rusche said.

The nine House members who voted to kill the bill were Reps. Thomas Dayley, Lynn Luker, Shannon McMillan, Kathleen Sims, Janet Trujillo, Don Cheatham, Ryan Kerby, Ronald Nate and Heather Scott.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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