Doubling Down on a Bad Bet

Everybody knows that Republicans in the Idaho Legislature made a horrendous mistake by killing a bill that provides funding for child-support enforcement. Well, almost everybody. Just when you thought those lawmakers would admit to their mistake, a few have doubled-down on the delusional argument that the legislation they killed would harm the state more than taking $200 million from Idaho’s children.

Here’s an email sent out from one of north Idaho’s own.

From Heather Scott

The legislative session is over…. for now.  There are rumors that we will be called back to Boise soon because the Governor, Department of Health & Welfare and the Media were not happy with the outcome of a particular vote.   Senate Bill 1067 “The Uniform Interstate family Support Act” was voted down in committee on Friday, the last day of session.  The media has turned this vote into a spectacle and have been requesting all emails, correspondences and documents related to the decisions through the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) from many of the committee members.  It has taken me over 7 hours to compile over 560 pages of documentation for their review!  I have not had time to compile the costs of   calling all legislators back for a special session, but I’m sure it’s not cheap!

You know what else isn’t cheap? Losing $16 million for child support enforcement, $30 million in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families grants and $200 million of child support. Add it up. That’s a quarter billion dollars! And Rep. Scott is worried about the cost of a special session?

Senate Bill 1067 would have forced Idaho to accept changes to its Child Support Enforcement (CSE) guidelines that are verbatim and uniform to federal code, and would subject Idaho to international laws and foreign tribunal support orders.  There would have been no allowances for adding amendments or language that protects Idaho from objectionable laws and provisions.

The entire Idaho Congressional Delegation supported it. It passed the Idaho Senate unanimously. The State Attorney General says the argument is nonsense.

When someone in Idaho has a foreign CSE order on them, S1067 says Idaho “…Is bound by the findings of fact on which the foreign tribunal based its jurisdiction; and… [m]ay not review the merits of the order.”  This means that Idaho could be stuck enforcing unfair CSE orders made by foreign tribunals.

The bill includes specific language that says Idaho does not have to enforce any child support order if it violates due process.

The committee wanted to add language to protect Idaho from enforcing objectionable foreign orders.  That was not allowed by federal guidelines—the bill had to remain un-amended.  Concerns were also raised over the sharing of Idahoan’s data through a global data-sharing component of the treaty. 

According to Gov. Otter, Wyoming and Utah added language that satiated the irrational fears of tea partiers. I think what you mean is, “We didn’t do our homework.”

The federal government is threatening to punish Idaho children and ex-spouses for Idaho not signing onto a restrictive and problematic set of international standards.  The feds also threatened that Idaho could hold up the entire 2007 Hague Convention (United Nations) on the International Recovery of Child Support.  (All fifty states must adopt the specific provisions for the treaty to be ratified, but only 19 have complied).  Once all fifty have signed on, the treaty is ratified. 

Nonsense. This is a uniform law, meaning it has to be the same from state to state. Idaho has passed more than 150 uniform laws, according to the governor. If you think creating a uniform system for collecting child support punishes Idaho children then you probably think sharia law is coming to get us.

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution states, “…all Treaties made, … under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby…”. So, even if we could apply protections in the law for Idaho children and families, the law immediately becomes subservient to the terms of the treaty—which is supreme

Section 54 on page 28 of the bill covers an entire page of “exceptions” that would allow a judge to refuse to recognize another country’s child support order.

Sharia law was mentioned once or twice in committee, but currently it appears to be a non-issue because as of today, none of the countries in the treaty have Sharia law.  Of course, if you are following the drama in the newspapers, you might think otherwise.  Remember, newspapers need to sell their papers and the best way to do that is to create drama and controversy. 

Five of the nine committee memebers (including Scott) that killed the bill attended a seminar “The True Face of Islam in Idaho” presented by Shahram Hadian who said he handed out a two-page concerns with the bill, including sharia law. Hadian has since taken credit for killing the bill. If anybody is creating drama and controversy, it’s the lawmakers who were consumed by extreme xenophobia.

Nine committee members stood firm when being bullied and bribed into accepting this bill.  This was a high point in the session. 

There aren’t words.

betteridaho

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