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Eye On Boise

Ways & Means votes 6-1 to introduce bill, an angry Rep. Moyle votes no

The House Ways & Means Committee has voted 6-1 to introduce the new child support enforcement bill, with just House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, objecting. Moyle spoke out angrily, saying he thought the Department of Health & Welfare had misled lawmakers that they couldn’t amend the measure during the regular session when they could. “I am less than happy with the department,” Moyle said. “They knew there were things we could do to that bill to make it more palatable to the Legislature.”

House Judiciary Chairman Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, said, “The basic issue that we had more than anything else was waiting on the federal government to respond,” as to how amendments could be appropriately done and in which sections of code they could go. “At a late time, we found out they would accept them in a different area. … The timing,” he said, was “where we really had a breakdown.”

Moyle said, “That was one of my biggest gripes about this and it still is today, the fact that we could have amended it ... and a lot of your committee members didn’t know that. ... This is a better bill. ... Since the session, it’s been interesting to see how quick the response was from HHS. … I don’t support the bill as it’s written today. I have a big problem with the politics that are being played by the other side with this bill.”

That prompted some bristling from the Democrats on the committee, but Moyle said after the committee meeting that he was referring to the Senate. “I thought there was a better compromise and the Senate majority leader took some of that language out,” he said, “and I have a problem with that.”

House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said, “I think that this is still to me a case of the imaginary fears of threats to state sovereignty and threats of rampant internationalism vs. the security and stability of Idaho families and the welfare of Idaho children. I strongly supported the bill the first time, you all know that, and I think this, with the changes, or window dressing or whatever you want to call it, I think it is quite satisfactory to me. Again I ask the committee to consider the welfare of Idaho kids foremost.”

Moyle responded, “I watched the press tear apart nine members of my caucus and nine members of his (Wills’) committee for doing nothing more than what they thought was right, trying to protect the information of the people of the state of Idaho. Now it’s important that deadbeat parents pay their bills." But, he said, he had concerns about sending information about Idahoans "to the kingdom of the Netherlands … Those members were only trying to amend the bill to make it a better bill, which is what our job is, and to protect the citizens of this state. … This is a better bill. I think we can do more. I appreciate that what we were doing is what we are supposed to do. … I think the department was less than straight … that the bill could be amended.”

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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