Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has announced he’ll hold a press conference Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. on Idaho’s child support system; it will be streamed live here, thanks to Idaho Public Television. Otter is expected to announce his decision on whether or not to call lawmakers back to Boise for a special session of the Legislature to address the state’s child support enforcement crisis; if he does, it would be Idaho’s first special legislative session in nine years.
A House committee voted 9-8 to table legislation on the last day of this year’s regular session to conform the state’s child support enforcement system with federal regulations, including acceding to a 2007 international treaty aimed at easing collections across state or international borders. Without the law, the U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement has informed Idaho it will lose $16 million in federal funds – two-thirds of its child support enforcement budget – and all access to the federal system it now uses to enforce $205 million a year in child support payments to Idaho children on June 12. An additional $30 million in federal assistance to needy Idaho families also is in jeopardy.
Only the governor can call a special session of Idaho’s Legislature, under the Idaho Constitution; the governor also determines, in advance, which issues the session will address.