Lawmakers were called back to Boise on Monday by Governor Otter to finish their work. They had just one bill to consider, and after nearly twelve hours consumed with public testimony, discussion and debate, they passed HB 1 thereby assuring Idaho’s child support enforcement system continues to operate.
Over the past month, there has been debate about the issue and why the Governor felt compelled to bring lawmakers back for a seldom-utilized “Extraordinary Session.” For the nearly one in four Idaho children and families who depend upon child support payments to exist each month, the “Extraordinary Session” was critically important.
On September 18, 2014, Congress passed the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act—which includes a requirement for all states to enact the 2008 amendments to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) during their 2015 legislative session.
When the legislature adjourned in mid-April without acting on the UIFSA amendments, Idaho’s access to the tools necessary to collect child support payments throughout the nation and across international boundaries was thrown into jeopardy. Without the tools provided through the treaty, Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare would have only been able to collect and disburse child support payments that are collected without a court order.
Additionally, without the passage of HB 1, Idaho also risked losing over $30 million in federal funding for programs such as Child Care Assistance, Child Welfare Services, Head Start, cash assistance, work and training programs, and Children’s Mental Health services.
IEA was among the more than 50 organizations that signed on to a letter urging legislators to pass HB 1. That letter was delivered to lawmakers in advance of Monday’s session.
With yesterday’s action on HB 1, legislative business is finally concluded and the work of rulemaking on legislation passed during the 2015 legislative session begins. We’ll be closely following all rulemaking work related to education throughout the summer and fall and providing updates.