On April 10, the last full day of the Idaho legislative session, a House committee voted 9-8 to reject amendments to state code that would bring Idaho into compliance with a 2008 rewrite of federal law on child support. The federal Uniform Interstate Family Support Act itself incorporates provisions of a 2007 international treaty on cross-border child support issues.
By a 2014 act of Congress, each state legislature, during its 2015 session, must approve uniform bill language accepting the changes. Without approval, a state’s child support operation is deemed out of compliance with federal statute and the state faces loss of aid. The Idaho Legislature adjourned early on April 11 without taking additional action on the issue.
Idaho received an out-of-compliance notice April 14. Without corrective action within 60 days, it faces the loss of $16 million to its office of child support services, which administers $205 million in child support payments annually. Also at risk is $30 million in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funding, which is withheld if no approved child support service program is in place.
The most likely route to fix this is for Gov. Butch Otter to call a special legislative session. Here’s how that might work:
The bill, which easily passed both houses, also raised the sales tax by one penny, to 6 percent, to raise $210 million; set aside $100 million in a rainy-day fund for education; and put an advisory question on the changes before voters in November. Voters supported the measure by a 3-1 margin.