Gov. Otter to announce action to address Idaho Legislature’s child support vote

Gov. Butch Otter has called a Wednesday morning news conference to announce action to reverse the Legislature’s rejection of an amended federal child support law that threatens $46 million in aid and the orderly processing of child support payments for 400,000 Idaho parents and children.

Otter is expected to announce that he will call the Legislature back into special session to address the issue. His spokesman, Jon Hanian, would not confirm that today.

“He’s going to make a decision tomorrow and he’ll answer questions then,” Hanian said.

A House committee, by a single vote, rejected the amended law on the final day of the regular session, with objecting members citing what they perceived as federal pressure to adopt the amendment and concerns over enforcing support judgments from overseas jurisdictions.

All 50 states and U.S. territories are required to approve the change to comply with federal child support rules, the latest version of which incorporates an international treaty that guides how child support is managed across borders.

In Idaho’s case, the committee’s vote threatens $16 million in aid to the state office that manages payments, $30 million in additional assistance to needy families, and the state’s $200 million system of child support payments.

The governor’s special session call would signal with near certainty that the measure this time will be approved by the committee. To win over objectors, it is expected that non-substantive amendments to the bill will be incorporated, as has been done in other states. Nineteen states have approved the change so far and all must do so within their current session cycle.

The governor’s 10:30 a.m. briefing will be streamed live at http://idahoptv.org/insession/gov.cfm.