[Vision2020] Otter calls special session on child support bill

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Wed Apr 29 12:13:59 PDT 2015

Courtesy of KTVB at:


Otter calls special session on child support bill

BOISE -- Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter called the first special session in nine years Wednesday, bringing lawmakers back to the Statehouse to take up the failed Senate Bill 1067.

The bill, which would have put Idaho in compliance with federal child support law, was defeated 9-8 on the final day of the legislative session. The death of the bill put Idaho at risk of losing $46 million in federal funding by June 12.

Otter said he waited to announce the special session because he wanted to be confident the bill would have a different outcome when legislators took it up a second time.

More: Otter to hold press conference on child support bill

After 18 days of discussion with lawmakers and officials from Health and Welfare and the federal government, Otter said, he was "cautiously comfortable" legislators would vote to advance the bill, bringing Idaho back into compliance with federal law.

"There is no alternative," he said. "We've discussed executive orders. We've discussed every other opportunity, or every other possibility. A special session, or a successful special session is the only way that we can hold people personally responsible."

More: Boise lawmaker defends vote on child support bill

Senators and representatives will reconvene May 18 at 8 a.m., and Otter said he is hopeful the session will last "hours, not days." The special session is expected to cost between $35,000 and $45,000 - not including the lawmakers' pay.

The governor said there will be differences between SB 1067 and the new bill brought before lawmakers in May, but declined to specify what changes would be made. He said he does not want to dwell on the past and declined to lay blame on the nine lawmakers who voted to table the bill.

"People that pursue these issues are sincere," he said. "They feel that they know what they know, and they're going to act on that knowledge. I could never criticize a person for what their belief is."

More: Single parents upset by child support bill vote

But lawmakers need to remember that they are representing the people of their district - many of whom rely on child support payments, he said.

Without access to federal databases and enforcement tools, Idaho would only be able to collect child support payments from those who were voluntarily paying to support their progeny, Otter said. Those who were unwilling to pay or moved away would likely be beyond the state's grasp.

"It's the deadbeat parent that we're after here, and it's our responsibility to make them responsible, to hold them responsible," he said.

More: Child support bill threatens Head Start program

Otter said legislators will not be allowed to discuss or vote on any other issue besides the child support bill.It has been nine years since the last legislative special session.

Stay tuned, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares"
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

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