Rep. Sims: Sovereignty key reason to hold child-support bill

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Senate Bill S1067 is basically a 31-page document which has caused great concern among many Idaho Representatives as well as our constituents. This is an international treaty and Idaho will be held to international law and its consequences. We are concerned about protecting the sovereignty of Idaho. The United States government has made coercive threats of withholding federal funds from Idaho's child support programs, insisting Idaho recognize orders from foreign countries with little recourse or appeal.

When an Idahoan has a foreign child support enforcement order, S1067 says, “is bound by the findings of fact on which the foreign tribunal based its jurisdiction; may NOT review the merits of the order.” We would be required to enforce ill-gotten Child Support Enforcement (CSE) orders made in a foreign country.

Quoting from S1067, section 7-1065, Contest of Registered Convention Support Order, page 27, lines 47-49 and page,28 line 1:  “In a contest of a registered convention support, a tribunal of this state, (a) is bound by the findings of fact on which the tribunal, its jurisdiction; and (b) may not review the merits of the order.”

The following is quoted for Representative Lynn Luker, an Idaho attorney: “Implementation of the treaty would open federal databases to foreign countries, an important child support enforcement tool is the Federal Parent Locator Service, which includes the National Directory of New Hires and information from the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense, National Security Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” How much can we risk?

The Anti-Commandeering Doctrine dates back to 1842 with four U.S. Supreme Court decisions, basically stating the Federal government cannot force states to act against their will.      

The U.S. Supreme Court also ruled the federal government cannot force the states to act against their will by withholding funds in a coercive manner.  It was ruled unconstitutional.  This ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court was in 2012 in National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius.  The Court held the federal government cannot compel states to expand Medicaid by threatening to withhold funding for Medicaid programs already in place.  Chief Justice argued that by allowing Congress to essentially punish states who refused to go along violates constitutional separation of powers.

And of most concern is the FACT that once the treaty is signed, it will be the law of the land.  The treaty will trump the U.S. Constitution and the Idaho Constitution.

The bill, S1067, and this treaty have serious risks and flaws.  We were not allowed to amend it in any way!  It is not our choice to interrupt current child support enforcement.  It is the Federal Government that is using children as collateral to force its policies upon Idaho.  Think seriously about the results of foreign/international laws as children in Idaho could be required to leave Idaho for residency in a foreign country in a child custody case.  Please keep Idaho and our great country in charge of our children and their future.   

A motion was made in the full House to bring the bill out of committee and this failed by a vote of 49 to 12.

Rep. Kathy Sims is a Republican from Coeur d’Alene.

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