Idaho families facing child support uncertainty

BOISE – Both the governor's office and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare say they're doing everything they can to fix a major issue that could affect thousands of Idahoans.

The federal child support bill, known as Senate Bill 1067, was killed in a House committee about a week and half ago.

Now, the agencies involved are scrambling to fix the issue.

"You can assume that we won't let the status quo continue," said Gov. Butch Otter.

Otter will not say that he's planning to call a special session, but it appears that could be the only solution.

"It would be worth it for the 155,000 Idaho families, it's something we need to address," said Otter.

As for the concerns that recently killed the bill, Otter says those have been cleared up and they've found a way to protect Idaho law while still abiding by the federal law when it comes to child support payments.

"We have arrived at a sufficient advice and counsel in house that says we could overcome all those questions with the kind of information we have," said Otter.

Otter says if a special session is called it would cost between $35,000 to $40,000 a day in just travel and per diem. But he expects it would only last one day.

Meanwhile, Health and Welfare spokesman Tom Shanahan says they are waiting to send out a letter to the Idaho households that receive child support payments, hoping to save that cost and the concern it would cause.

"We don't want to raise alarm for people unnecessarily, so if a solution is found we wouldn't want to send a letter out because it would be very serious," said Shanahan.

Idaho has until June 12th to come into compliance, or the $46 million in funding and enforcement tools will be cut.

The last special session was called in 2006, and then Gov. Jim Risch did give lawmakers 30 days notice before it began.


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