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Child Support Bill Passes Idaho House Over Sovereignty Objections

Jessica Robinson
Northwest News Network
A special joint committee of the Idaho legislature hears public testimony on a bill involving child support payments between states and countries.

The controversial Idaho bill dealing with foreign child support orders is moving ahead in the legislature, despite impassioned opposition on the House floor.

The House passed the bill on a 49-21, with more conservative Republicans voting against.

Passage of the bill is a requirement of federal funding. The federal government says Idaho would lose access to critical databases and federal dollars if it doesn’t sign on to the uniform child support regulations.

North Idaho Republican Rep. Vito Barbieri objected to letting money be the deciding factor.

“Whatever may have remained of state sovereignty, we’ve proven one thing,” he said. “It’s for sale.”

All states are being asked to approve the regulations. They include provisions of a treaty with 32 countries.

Supporters of the bill argue the reciprocity agreement with other nations would enhance Idahoans’ rights. The agreements would enable the state to enforce child support orders even if the parent is in a different country.

Conservative Republicans originally killed the bill in the regular session. Lawmakers returned to the Capitol Monday for a special session. But some Republicans still fear the international treaty will violate citizens’ rights to due process and override the ability of the U.S. courts to make decisions on child support.

The bill now awaits approval from the Senate.