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Eye On Boise

As special session runs late, Otter delays press conference to tomorrow; Senate debate on now

Brent Regan debates against the child support enforcement bill on the floor of the Idaho Senate (Betsy Z. Russell)
Brent Regan debates against the child support enforcement bill on the floor of the Idaho Senate (Betsy Z. Russell)

Gov. Butch Otter has delayed the press conference he’d planned for 30 minutes after today’s special session to tomorrow at 11:30, due to the session’s length. Meanwhile, the Senate is debating the bill, HB 1, on child support enforcement. From the debate:

Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood, said the bill “escaped my notice the first time it came to the Senate.” She read from George Washington’s farewell address about “foreign influence.” Nuxoll said her concerns include that she believes Idaho would be entering into a foreign treaty; that states must pass “substantial parts of HB 1 verbatim,” which she said violates “our Republican principles of local control; that the bill includes two severability clauses; and that “access to information is not defined well enough.” She said, “Won’t Idaho be held hostage to this international authority? This bill is so confusing and so complex, and because it’s so complicated, it’s subject to conflicting interpretations.” She asked, “If we pass this bill, will we compromise our freedom, and the very freedom of the children and parents we are trying to help?

Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, an attorney, said he’s handled interstate child support enforcement cases. “These amendments, this bill puts in place, merely puts the same exact jurisdictional standards in place with regard to a foreign order that’s going to be enforced in Idaho. … Foreign nations that recognize this treaty will recognize the Idaho order and enforce it, so long as we have … an exercise of jurisdiction.” He said, "It's not something that affects our sovereignty. ... It fully complies with the United States Constitution. ... The reason that needs to be in state law ... is because child support is determined in state courts, not in federal courts."

Brent Regan, who is filling in for Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, spoke against the bill. “Compromising our constitutional principles one iota is not an option,” he said. “There’s a method and methodology for doing that, it’s called a constitutional amendment, and if that’s what it takes to resolve this matter, then so be 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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