Sharia stalls Idaho child-support bill?

by Will Hall, |

BOISE, Idaho (Christian Examiner) – Critics of Idaho legislators who opposed compliance with a federal child support law say the conservatives are fearful of Islamic law. But conservatives on the state legislature committee who actually voted "no" to bringing state laws into compliance with a 2007 federal treaty say it is not sharia they fear but the U.S. federal government.

In a press release, state Rep. Lynn Luker (R-Boise) said "on the surface" Idaho's Senate Bill1067 merely updates child support laws to recognize orders from foreign courts. But the federally mandated language, he contends, forces states to accept foreign orders with few exceptions, and this "raises due process concerns" especially because laws among the 80 or so foreign powers who are part of the federal agreement "vary drastically from country to country."

Luker also complained these overseas governments would gain access to sensitive information held by the Social Security Administration, the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense, among other federal agencies, in order to force child support compliance by individuals—a privacy concern for all citizens he said, including Idahoans.

He also rejected allegations that his committee was playing with the lives of "single parents and children...the most vulnerable in our society," as charged by Rep. Luke Malek (R-Coeur d'Alene). To the contrary, he placed the blame on a coercive federal government that "has threatened states with the loss of existing child support funding and technical support" for not bringing state laws into compliance with this federal agreement with foreign governments.

Luker wrote that it is "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." He also acknowledged that some citizens testified before his committee about sharia courts. But he said although that testimony became "the major focus in news articles," it was not the reason for holding the bill. Rather, "serious risks and flaws" inherent in the state legislation, originating from the federal treaty, caused it to be voted down.

The Idaho Statesmen reports the stall "threatens $46 million in direct federal aid and more than $200 million in child support collections the state processes annually." The news outlet reported that Republican Gov. Butch Otter has scheduled a press conference for April 16 and suggested because the lawmakers adjourned for 2015, he is contemplating whether to call a special legislative session to deal with the matter.