Editorials

Statesman Editorial: A win for families, but some Idaho Republicans leave us at a loss

Monday, May 18, was a little bit early in the calendar year to categorize as summer school at the Statehouse, but it is a proper analogy for what happened at the daylong 2015 Idaho Legislature “Extraordinary” Session.

Because some members of the class did not properly complete their work during the regular term, the whole body had to return to reconsider something that was more beset with phantom concerns and classic, unfounded anti-federal ghosts than any real threat to our state government and freedom.

We are left asking ourselves why this test — after the Congress, the Idaho Senate and 19 other states essentially had decided to reaffirm a compact that provides enforcement and tools to allow and expedite child support payments — was so difficult for some Republicans in an Idaho House committee and additional Republicans well into the evening Monday.

Dissenting legislators can feign caution and prudence and suspicion of the federal government and the United Nations all they want. They can attempt to blame the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare for not properly informing or educating the Legislature about amendment options and about what was at stake back in April.

But none of that line of thinking excuses what was known then and is known all the more now. The 50 states are participants in a federal government that has interaction with a global society and international law, and all the HB 1 child support bill does is strengthen Idaho’s ability to operate in that larger community (and vice versa) when enforcing child support orders. Idaho can say no to orders from other countries when they are outside these uniform agreements.

Concerns about “coercive” actions by the federal government were by no means laid to rest Monday, as evidenced by charges that our Idaho state sovereignty had been sold for a pittance. Those opposed to HB 1 fancied themselves principled champions standing up for something.

We disagree. The people who voted for and passed HB 1 were the champions because they recognized this as about Idaho families and not ideology. They were not about to jeopardize the well-being of those who depend on support payments to survive. We are at a loss to understand what could square any other outcome.

So, some walked away from the summer session of Idaho government without having learned a thing. They came in to this “Extraordinary” session with their pride and fear and left with them — because therein was the sum of their argument.

Statesman editorials are the unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email editorial@idahostatesman.com.

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