Otter praises passage of child support enforcement bill

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter praised lawmakers for successfully passing child support enforcement legislation during the Idaho Legislature's 11-hour special session.

Otter signed the bill Tuesday.

"Today is one of comfort that we can go ahead with assurances in our society to promote personal responsibility while securing information of our Idaho residents," Otter said.

Otter called a special session — the first since 2006 — after nine House members killed a bill during the regular legislative session that would have made Idaho in compliance with federal child support collection and enforcement rules. Opponents described the bill as federal overreach, while others raised fears over the bill's connection with an international treaty.

Congress is requiring all 50 states to pass this legislation in order to ratify an international treaty that would make it easier for parents to receive child support funds across international borders. In the U.S., there are about 150,000 active international cases involving about $600 million.

Some of the nine lawmakers who voted the original bill down in April argued that it would open the door to allow Islamic Sharia law to trump U.S. law.

By failing to pass the bill, Idaho risked losing up to $46 million in federal funding for child support enforcement and collection. It also risked losing access to collect those child support payments in other states.

However, both chambers were able to pass a slightly revised version on Monday. The amended bill included a new section that says Idaho can't enforce any orders incompatible with Idaho law.

Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill thanked lawmakers in both chambers and refuted claims that passing the bill resulted in Idaho relinquishing its sovereignty.

Hill shared a line from an email he received Tuesday morning that accused the senator of being disloyal to the Constitution. "You shall be spurned and scorned all your days for your undermining," Hill read.

The republican leader then added, "We did not compromise our state sovereignty. We did not neglect due process. We did not breach confidentiality and we did not abandon our beloved Constitution, either at the state level or at the federal level. We did a good thing yesterday."

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