The Latest: Idaho lawmakers approve child-support bill

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — 7:15 (MDT)

The Idaho Legislature has approved child-support legislation that was previously rejected over concerns of federal overreach and Islamic law.

The legislation is now headed to the Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's desk for his signature, where he's expected to sign within the next few days.

Nine lawmakers rejected the proposal during Idaho's regular legislative session last month.

While lawmakers spent hours debating the merits and faults in the bill, the proposal sailed through both chambers with more than two-thirds of a majority.

5:15 p.m. (MDT)

An Idaho Senate panel has unanimously approved a bill that would put the state into compliance with federal child support rules.

A similar measure was killed last month, jeopardizing U.S. involvement in an international treaty as well as Idaho's access to tens of millions in federal funds.

The bill was turned back by one vote on the last day of the regular session by lawmakers who called it a federal overreach that could allow Islamic law to influence U.S. courts.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter convened a special session to address the issue, and the plan is now before the full Senate.

It passed the House on Monday afternoon.

Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, said a special session could have been avoided if the committee had been given more time to discuss the proposal.

It passed the committee 9-0.

5 p.m. (MDT)

The Idaho House has advanced a proposal to put the state into compliance with federal rules governing child-support payments.

The bill has been the sole focus of the special session that began Monday.

House members approved the plan on a 49-21 vote after lawmakers debated for nearly two hours.

Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens, maintains his opposition, saying Idaho would sell its sovereignty by passing the bill.

And Rep. Kathleen Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, says she's proud she's one of the nine lawmakers who originally killed the proposed during the regular legislative session in April.

The bill now goes to the Senate for approval.

3 p.m. (MDT)

An Idaho legislative panel advanced the child support proposal on a 12-5 vote, despite objections from lawmakers who said the state was bowing to federal coercion.

The House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee approval was the first of several legislative hurdles for the bill.

Access to about $46 million in federal funds and child-support payment processing systems are tied to the legislation. Idaho would lose out on both if the rejection stands.

1 p.m. (MDT)

Idaho residents gave passionate and emotional testimony against an updated version of a child-support bill that failed last month.

Katherine Frazier says linking federal funding to the legislation amounts to bribery and cited the Bible in her opposition, saying "fire shall devour the houses of bribes."

Bob Neugebauer says the bill isn't about child support, "it's about extortion by our federal government."

Legislation supporters have said that if lawmakers don't undo their rejection it would leave families with a burdensome system that makes it difficult — sometimes impossible — for parents to collect payments.

Meanwhile, Beth Oppenheimer, Executive Director Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children, said families in the state would be devastated if the bill isn't passed.

12:30 p.m. (MDT)

The same fears that killed the child-support bill last month — primarily federal government overreach and concerns it could allow foreign law to influence U.S. courts — came up in early testimony.

Such critics were met by those who said Idaho's rejection could leave families across the U.S. facing the flawed status quo.

Others pointed to the effect the rejection would have on the state based on the loss of federal funds and access to payment processing systems, including automatic payroll deductions.

9:15 a.m. (MDT)

Dozens people prepared to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee, seeking to comment on a bill that would put the state in compliance with federal rules.

The measure was introduced over the opposition of Republican House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Moyle.

He says the revised plan doesn't go far enough to address the concerns of lawmakers who killed the bill last month.

Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter called lawmakers back to Boise recently after nine Republican House members killed a compliance bill, jeopardizing an international child-support treaty and state access to federal funds and programs.

8 a.m. (MDT)

Idaho lawmakers have convened for a special legislative session to address failed legislation that has jeopardized U.S. participation in an international treaty that aims to make it easier for parents worldwide to collect child-support payments.

State residents were trickling in to testify over a bill killed by one vote in the final hours of the regular session.

Opponents have said it was an example of federal overreach that would allow Shariah law to influence U.S. courts.

The rejection also would dismantle the state's child support payment and enforcement systems.

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