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Eye On Boise

Testimony has wrapped up

Idaho Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong addresses lawmakers on Monday (AP / Otto Kitsinger)
Idaho Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong addresses lawmakers on Monday (AP / Otto Kitsinger)

Public testimony has now wrapped up on HB 1, the child support enforcement bill. A full three dozen people testified in the four-hour hearing, roughly evenly split between backers and opponents of the bill. Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong and Deputy Attorney General Scott Keim are now answering some questions from the committee.

Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene, asked Keim, “Having this language of a foreign treaty being blended into state law has not been done before, is that right?” Keim said that’s not right. “Actually there are a number of foreign treaties that have procedures laid forth in both state and federal law,” he said, particularly deadling with “interference with parental custody, the international child abduction act, ... things of that nature … already have things that are set forth in a treaty with mirroring procedures set forth in state code. The other avenue where you find those are on issues of rendition in criminal cases, the way that rendition or extradition is handled. And those extradition treaties are tied to provisions in both state and federal code outlining ways in which those procedures are handled.”

Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, said, “I would like an official attorney general’s opinion on whether or not we are violating our constitutional oath.”

Keim said a formal attorney general’s opinion hasn’t been written, but the primary area of concern appears to be “whether enacting of this legislation would constitute a treaty directly between the state of Idaho and a foreign nation.” He said, “It is my opinion that this does not constitute a direct treaty making effort between the state of Idaho and any foreign country. It is simply effectuating changes in state law which allow the United States to finalize its nationwide advice and consent and treaty.” On another area, involving the spending clause, Keim said he's already provided a written opinion to Souza.

Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, said, “The attorney general’s office is providing opinon to the state Legislature today. It doesn’t mean that that opinion is always right, does it? There have been wrong opinions offered before.” 

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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