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Eye On Boise

House Judiciary defeats motion to send bill to amending order, 5-12

As the House Judiciary Committee reconvened, Rep. Don Cheatham, R-Post Falls, attempted to make a motion to add definitions for two terms in the child support enforcement bill; that move was rejected, as committees don’t amend bills. Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, then moved to send the bill to the full House with a recommendation that it “do pass.” Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, offered a substitute motion to send the bill to the House’s amending order, with a committee recommendation that a “sunset clause,” making the bill expire in 2021, be added.

“We’d be allowed to come back and review this bill, and if it’s working as the Department of Health & Welfare said it would and it’s doing all the good things that it’s doing, we’d be able to just remove the sunset clause at that point,” Nate said.

Rep. Patrick McDonald, R-Boise, said, “I think this bill is very clear in what it’s supposed to do. I think it’s been discussed and re-discussed and re-discussed as many times as we can. I know myself, I’ve probably read this bill four times. We don’t want to complicate things. Right now I think it’s in our best interest to make a decision … and move forward, get this handled like we should. ... If we put a sunset clause on this and it isn’t right, we could have to come back again.”

The committee went at ease for just a few minutes, and some conferred with leadership, then the panel came back.

Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d’Alene, argued in favor of the substitute motion. “This has been a big bill … we’ve had lots of discussion on it,” she said. “Most of the people from my central committee have sent me lots of information. … You heard ... the need to protect our military. They’re stationed all over the world. .. So I need to allow a sunset clause to see if it really works. And I’d like to see us improve the definitions as well as a report back to the legislature on an annual basis.”

Rep. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, argued for the original motion. “We live in a culture of fear – we’re letting our fears get the best of us,” she said.

Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, said the amendments to the bill were drafted “behind closed doors.” She said she’d like to see a time frame added in. Meanwhile, big bursts of static were interrupting the lawmakers as they spoke. They then went to the vote on the substitute motion, which failed, 5-12, with just Reps. McMillan, Sims, Cheatham, Nate and Scott voting for it.

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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