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Eye On Boise

House debate: ‘Chance for a do-over,’ ‘Gun to the head,’ ‘Personally feel it’s a violation’

From the House debate on HB 1, the child support enforcement bill:

House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said, “I’m glad the House has a chance for a do-over, and I support this bill. … So thank you to all who vote today for HB 1. And to those who cannot, I say this: This vote is truly a statement of values. Do you support kids and families? Or do you support decisions based on fear and disinformation? Please think who you’re supporting.”

Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, said the situation is a “perversion of the concept” of state sovereignty and accused the feds of using “gangster-esque” tactics. “Giving someone a choice with a gun to the head does not respect their sovereignty, and the feds mean business,” he said. “If Idaho doesn’t adopt the new UIFSA standards it will lose $16 million. … That is the feds’ idea of respecting Idaho sovereignty: Do what we say or lose the money and enjoy your freedom.” He said, “We should be voting on the merits of the bill, and not be voting based on threats of federal reprisal,” and added, “If we don’t stop these ugly tactics now, we will certainly see it again and again.”

Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, addressed a question to Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise: “According to my Constitution, it says when the treaties are made, they shall be the supreme law of the land and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby. What I’m wondering, are the amendments” that have been added to HB 1, “Do they mean nothing once we endorse this treaty?” Luker responded, “No, they mean something. The term ‘public policy’ is undefined in the treaty and it’s also undefined in our law And yet the treaty … allows our courts to reject orders that are manifestly incompatible with our public policy. At this point we don’t know exactly what that is, and so by these amendments we put some definitions to that public policy.”

Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, said, read from the Constitution about alliances and treaties. "What we're trying to do here, and has been suggested by the federal government for us to do, is to enter into a treaty, that states are not allowed to do according to Article 1 Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution. And I find nothing there that allows me to think otherwise. ... I personally feel it's a violation of my oath if I don't support the Constitution."

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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