(Updated, Sunday 6:31 pm)
Here’s another take on the House’s decision to hold a child support collection bill, as well as reactions from fellow House Republicans.
Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, who voted to table the bill, said in a press release he has major concerns about due process. “Courts in Idaho are required to accept foreign orders with only a few exceptions,” Luker wrote. “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.”
Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, said Friday he had similar concerns about the bill, which is part of the reason why the bill was held in the Senate for three weeks before a final vote. Ultimately, Rice, an attorney who specializes in child custody, voted for the bill.
Luker also cited privacy concerns, saying foreign countries would have access to federal databases with information on parents. He added that while Sharia law came up in the discussion, ultimately, concerns about what he saw as flaws in the bill and treaty were the reason the bill was held.
“It is not our choice to interrupt current child support enforcement,” Luker wrote. “Rather, it is the federal government that is using children as collateral to force its policies upon Idaho and its sister states.”
On Sunday, other House Republicans sent out e-mails to the media and fellow caucus members criticizing Luker’s remarks.
“Representative Luker does not speak for Idaho or me. Scuttling 1067 without debate was heavy-handed opportunistic theatrics at the expense of single-parents and children…the most vulnerable in our society,” wrote Rep. Luke Malek, R’Coeur d’Alene. “I do not support the erratic behavior that will lead to the dismantling of our child support system, nor the implication that this mockery of a legal analysis in any way represents our Republican caucus.”
Rep. Robert Anderst, R-Nampa, also responded in an e-mail to the press and fellow House Republicans.
“I for one don’t know the specifics of this legislation. I cant speak to the merits of these arguments however I will not allow Mr. Luker to be perceived as speaking for me or the caucus. Because this was distributed to the press as a response to the action of holding this bill it is imperative that the press know that this is a limb that Rep. Luker is out on by himself at this time,” Anderst wrote. “Rep. Luker may be right, he may be wrong but on an issue that affects so many and so drastically he does not speak for me especially at this time.”
Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, wrote: “I certainly hope this was not represented as a Majority Caucus response. If it was, it should be immediately withdrawn. Rep Luker is entitled to his opinion, legal and personal. It is not my opinion, and I do not want to be associated in any way with it. By the way, can anyone explain why we still have a caucus media director? The caucus has no way of meeting. There should be no information being presented to the public representing anything about the caucus.”
House Majority Caucus Spokeswoman Cindy Agidius sent out a note on Sunday to clarify Luker’s editorial is his opinion alone, and is not meant to represent the views of the entirety of the House Republican caucus.
You can read our full coverage, including an explanation of the bill and why the House’s actions may affect child support collection in Idaho, at this link. We’re continuing to follow this story. In the meantime, read Luker’s full statement below.
April 11, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Reasons Behind the Holding of SB 1067 By Representative Lynn M Luker
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 SB1067 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.