Asked his message to the families whose child support payments are at risk if the special session isn’t successful, Gov. Butch Otter said, “My message to them is: Pray for success. We can use all the help that we can get.” He said, “I expect there to be the legitimate compassion, I expect there to be sincere debate, on both sides.”
The past 18 days of talks with lawmakers, he said, have been “an arduous process. … I wasn’t going to call a special session if we weren’t going to get anything done.”
In response to questions from reporters, Otter said, “There is no alternative. We’ve discussed executive orders, we’ve discussed every other opportunity or possibility. … A special session, and a successful special session, is the only way that we can hold people personally responsible.”
The governor explained, “It’s the deadbeat parent that we’re after here, and it’s our responsibility to hold them responsible.”
Otter said among Idaho’s 155,000 child support cases, just 97 right now involve foreign countries. Sixty of those involve Canada; a few others each are in England, Sweden, Germany and Australia.
He declined to criticize the nine House committee members who killed the child support enforcement bill on a 9-8 vote on the final day of this year’s regular legislative session. “We need to move forward,” he said. “People that pursue these issues are sincere. And they feel they know what they know and they’re going to act on that knowledge. And I can never criticize a person for what their belief is. But what we’ve tried to stress on everybody is that each of those representatives, each of those senators, represent 47,000 people. And we can actually, (Health & Welfare Director) Dick (Armstrong) can by zip code, we can tell ‘em how many of these dependent folks, how many of these kids are in their district. We can tell ‘em right down to the number.”