Press editorial: On moose and legislative mayhem

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We open this editorial with an apology to all dead moose.

We also call upon Gov. Butch Otter to reassemble the Idaho Legislature in special session, at great cost to taxpayers and annoyance to legislators whose 2015 session work should have been done.

Just prior to the close of business for the year, a House committee put its anti-federalist ideology ahead of 400,000 Idaho children. They did so at a potential cost of more than $70 million annually to the state in federal dollars earmarked for services ranging from collecting child support to providing child care to needy families. But it’s not just the money that matters. The entire mechanism for tracking child support payments and other essential child-related services will be dismantled.

Rep. Lynn Luker says the Sharia law fears widely attributed to the committee’s action were a non-factor. We doubt the veracity of that assertion — just ask Sen. Bob Nonini and Rep. Vito Barbieri of Kootenai County — but in the online edition of this editorial, we’re posting the SB 1067 gospel according to Luker in its entirety and will leave it to you to decide the merits of his and like-minded legislators’ reasoning.

On the other side of the issue, a reader posted the following comment Tuesday on cdapress.com. It sums up many outraged citizens’ sentiments nicely:

I believe my own faith has its vocal share of misinformed and confused adherents that as the late Rev. Bill Coffin used to say, "hold certainty dearer than truth, want to learn only what they already know, want to become only what they already are." In my old hometown, we had a few ignorant ranters who sent letters to the paper regularly. I say ignorant because facts were irrelevant to these letter writers, but our legislative leaders were for the most part sensible, reasonable and could connect the dots doing good for the people.

Sadly, Idaho seems to have a legislature full of non-thinkers, people unable to reason and people who jump to outlandish unsupportable imaginary claims. I would not have believed it had I not read about some of these folks in the CDA Press only to be chronicled and ridiculed in the national press as well.

We are certainly known as one of the really dumb states. The child support debacle was all over the web's national news sites last night, once again, making us look foolish. How we can turn the electorate around to be more discerning, I don't know. Right now, a dead moose with an "R" after its name could easily win an election in Idaho, and the current crop is about as intellectually astute as that dead moose.

And now, without further ado or morose moose mentions, let’s fix this mess.

* * *

Reasons Behind the Holding of SB 1067

By Representative Lynn M. Luker

April 11, 2015

Concern has been raised about the Idaho House Judiciary and Rules committee holding SB 1067. Holding the bill was about protecting the due process and privacy rights of our citizens, and protecting the integrity of our state's ability to study and analyze issues independent of the coercive threats of the federal government. On the surface, SB 1067 updates Idaho child support laws to recognize orders from foreign countries. It is, however, the product of a 2007 treaty. For the United States to participate, all 50 states must approve the exact language which is contained in SB 1067.

The federally mandated language in SB 1067 raises due process concerns. Courts in Idaho are required to accept foreign orders with only a few exceptions. Those exceptions include minimal requirements for notice and hearing; however, those rights are undefined and vary drastically from country to country. Our courts would be curtailed from looking behind those orders. One provision even bypasses court review and allows agency enforcement without court review.

Implementation of the treaty would open federal databases to foreign countries. An important child support enforcement tool is the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) which includes the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH), as well as access to information from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, VA, the Department of Defense, NSA and FBI. Regarding the threat to personal information, counsel for the Congressional Research Service expressed significant concern in a report of July 15, 2013. The report states: "The expansion of access to and use of personal information contained in the FPLS, especially in the National Directory of New Hires, could potentially lead to privacy and confidentiality breaches, financial fraud, identity theft, or other crimes. There is also concern that a broader array of legitimate users of the NDNH may conceal the unauthorized use of the personal and financial data in the NDNH."

Finally, the federal government uses coercion to force approval of the bill. It has threatened states with the loss of existing child support funding and technical support on all other cases if the bill is not passed. In other words, the federal government, in its effort to compel adding a few foreign child support collections, is willing to impair all other child support collections to force compliance with its mandate. Idaho is not dismantling its child support system, and desires to continue it.

A few citizens who testified at the hearing raised concerns about SB I067 leading to enforcement of Sharia law in Idaho, which ended up as the major focus in news articles. That was not the reason for holding the bill. The bill and treaty have serious risks and flaws. It is not our choice to interrupt current child support enforcement. Rather, it is the federal government that is using children as collateral to force its policies upon Idaho and its sister states.

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