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Old 04-21-2015, 08:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Negotiated at The Hague, a Child Support Treaty Falters in Boise

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POST FALLS, Idaho — It took five years for negotiators to work out the details of a multinational treaty on child support that would make it easier to track delinquent parents around the world. It took only a couple of minutes for a committee of the Idaho Legislature to endanger America’s participation.

In a 9-to-8 vote in the closing hours of the legislative session, the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee killed a bill that state and federal officials had said was crucial to the finely crafted choreography of the child support treaty reached at The Hague. All 50 states must approve the mechanics of the treaty for American ratification to proceed, and 19 have signed off thus far.

A major factor seems to be Idaho’s ornery streak, the part of the state’s identity that does not like the federal government — or, worse still, foreign governments — telling it what to do.

In Boise, the state capital, members of the committee — which is dominated by Republicans, as is the Legislature as a whole — raised concerns about foreign tribunals, perhaps ones based on Shariah, the Islamic legal code, potentially making decisions under the treaty that Idaho might not like. At least 32 countries, along with the European Union, have ratified the agreement.

“I’m concerned about women’s rights in some of these countries,” Representative Heather Scott, a Republican member of the committee, said during a hearing on the bill. “I’m seeing a problem,” added Ms. Scott, who ultimately voted along with eight other Republicans on April 10 to table the bill without sending it to the full House for a vote.

The stakes are potentially immense, for child support recipients across the nation, who risk losing the benefits that the treaty protects, and for parents and children in Idaho — particularly poor ones — who will lose various federal subsidies unless legislators change their minds.

Federal officials said that $16 million in funding for Idaho’s child welfare system would be cut within 60 days, effectively dismantling the state’s child support enforcement arm, which can take steps like garnishing a parent’s pay. An additional $30 million in block grants could dry up, too, including federal money for Head Start, a preschool program for low-income children.

“People are realizing the dimensions, and it’s blowing wide open,” said Taryn Thompson, 35, a divorced mother in Kootenai County who depends on child support.

Idaho residents and political leaders, finding themselves in the spotlight, have reacted with anger and fear that children might pay the price, but also in some cases with a kind of prickly pride. Idaho, in the face of what felt to some legislators on the committee like bullying from the federal government, had hit right back.

To Ryan Kerby, a Republican and first-term state representative, a good part of his vote came down to simple courtesy. He was not, he said, about to be told what to do by mostly nameless federal officials who had communicated their demands to the state, and then would not grant legislators more time to think about it.

“You need to sign it, and if you don’t we’re going to beat the crud out of you,” Mr. Kerby said, paraphrasing the pressure he felt. “They were incredibly rude.”

Idaho’s governor, C. L. (Butch) Otter, a Republican, will almost certainly have to call the Legislature into a special session if the bill and the treaty questions are to be addressed again, legal experts said. Mr. Otter said at a news conference on Thursday that he was not prepared to do that yet.

Other Idahoans are just scratching their heads. The child support bill, through most of the legislative session leading to the committee’s vote, had drawn little attention or controversy. The Senate passed it unanimously.

“It’s an interesting issue because no one, even those in the room, seems to understand exactly what happened, and the long-term implications are so unclear,” said Shaakirrah R. Sanders, an associate law professor at the University of Idaho.

The people with the most to lose are women who, through violence or a bitter divorce, have been left fearful of personally pressuring a former husband for child support, or even perhaps of being found by him. That is not uncommon here in Kootenai County, a mostly rural part of northern Idaho that has the highest rate in the state of what the Idaho State Police categorizes as “intimate partner violence.”

“Yes, we in Idaho don’t like the federal government telling us what to do or not do,” said Deb Wheeler, 56, who works in Post Falls as an operations manager and is raising a 17-year-old son. She said her ex-husband paid his support reliably and would do so even without the state enforcement apparatus, but she has friends who are not so lucky. “This affects real people,” Ms. Wheeler said.

Some lawmakers said in the committee’s hearings on the bill that they were in fact trying to protect women in Idaho, who might have a child support case adjudicated under the treaty by a foreign tribunal that might not treat women as equals. Some singled out Shariah as a source of that fear.

Under the treaty — worked out by The Hague Conference on Private International Law, a global intergovernmental organization with more than 80 members — participant countries agree to enforce child support judgments across boundaries.

Representative Thomas Dayley, one of the legislators who voted not to send the bill to the floor, said in the hearing that the federal government seemed to be threatening Idaho’s children by withholding money.

“It would be their choice, that they would deny us that money and they would say to our children, ‘no,’” said Mr. Dayley, a Republican.

Idaho’s child support program director, Kandace Yearsley, testifying on behalf of the bill, disagreed.

“I believe that the federal government feels like that we’re the ones telling our children ‘no,’ because we’re the ones here that are making the decision that says we’re not going to participate,” Ms. Yearsley said.
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Old 04-21-2015, 08:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you are going to fuck Idaho, make sure to take it north to south.
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Old 04-21-2015, 10:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Idaho’s child welfare system would be cut within 60 days, effectively dismantling the state’s child support enforcement arm, which can take steps like garnishing a parent’s pay. An additional $30 million in block grants could dry up, too, including federal money for Head Start, a preschool program for low-income children.




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Old 04-22-2015, 11:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If only Terry had voted..... I hold him responsible for this.



But seriously.... this is putting the Duh back in Idaho.
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Old 04-22-2015, 04:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Islammmyyys everywhere in the cornfield. midwest fail.
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Old 04-22-2015, 05:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That's Iowa I think Nick.
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Old 04-22-2015, 06:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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His point was still good.
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