Idaho Governor Not Ready To Call Special Legislative Session Over Child Support Issue

Apr 16, 2015

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch Otter" visited the KBSX studio during the last election.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter said Thursday he is not yet prepared to call a special legislative session to address child support.

Just before the 2015 legislative session ended last weekend, members of a House committee killed a bill to bring Idaho in compliance with changes to federal child support programs.

At a legislative postmortem press conference, Otter called on state Health and Welfare Director Dick Armstrong to explain the consequences of that vote. Armstrong said 155,000 Idaho households that receive child support payments could be affected.

“We depend on reciprocity with other states,” Armstrong said. “We have built all of our operating systems around those tools that have been made available. The loss of this approval means then that not only do we lose the federal dollars that we have depended on, more importantly is we do not have access to the tools that allow us to, for example, withhold wages from an employer in another state.”

Idaho could lose anywhere from $16-$46 million in federal money, according to The Spokesman-Review.

Otter said doing nothing had not even entered the discussion. But Otter said the state had to act by mid-June or suffer the consequences Armstrong outlined.

Though Otter said he was not yet prepared to call a special session, he was not able to answer how the problem could be resolved without one.

“I think there’s a lot of homework for us to do in order to, if we were to have a special session, to have a successful one,” Otter said.  

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