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Eye On Boise

Acting Sen. Regan: ‘I worry about my son’

Brent Regan testifies to state lawmakers on Monday (Betsy Z. Russell)
Brent Regan testifies to state lawmakers on Monday (Betsy Z. Russell)

Brent Regan, a former Coeur d’Alene school board member and vice-chairman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation who’s filling in as a substitute senator for Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, testified at length against HB 1, responding to numerous questions from lawmakers after his assigned 3 minutes. “A lot of talk has been about protecting children,” he said. “I have a son who’s in boot camp right now,” training to serve with the Marines. He said when his son gets assigned overseas, “I worry about some foreign court ordering some protection order from some claim from some woman somewhere and my son not having the same equal protection that everybody in this room has, and I object to this.”

He said his concern is that the United States has high standards for due process, and he doesn’t believe they’ll apply to international child support enforcement under HB 1 and an international treaty. Sen. John Tippets, R-Montpelier, noted that Idaho’s existing law already includes orders from foreign tribunals. “Excellent question,” Regan responded. “No, this legislation doesn’t bring foreign courts into here in any way, shape or form. What it does is it says it’s OK, that we will accede foreign orders, foreign entities, or states. ... So if we allow that, they don’t have the same due process as we do, and we’re turning a blind eye to that. … As soon as the convention becomes a treaty and is fully enacted, then it’s the provisions of the treaty and not the amendments that we put on it here.”

Rep. Don Cheatham R-Post Falls, asked Regan, “With HB 1, and the amendments that are in there, do you think that provides us additional protection?” Regan responded, “As soon as all 50 states comply with this, if they do, should they, then the treaty gets subjugated to the Hague and it then becomes … the supreme law of the land. And anywhere that the protections that we may add conflict with the treaty, the treaty is the dominant document. … That’s very clear.”

Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, asked Regan why he didn’t have the same concern about the hundreds of other international treaties the United States currently operates under, on topics including pursuing murderers across international borders.  “I’m not an expert in foreign treaty law,” Regan responded. “This is obviously a worthy thing to do. We have the problem of our Constitution, if you will. The way to fix the problem, if we wish, there’s two ways, one we can change the Constitution and say protection and due process is important except in these cases, or how about this, maybe we can encourage other countries to increase their protections pursuant to ours?” He said, “I worry about my son being subjected to not the same due process protections that all of you enjoy.”

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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