When Shahram Hadian, a pastor from Washington, visited Boise to give an anti-Islam presentation, a few lawmakers asked for his opinion on the child support bill, which had already passed the Senate at that point.
In an interview with Idaho Reports, Hadian said he didn’t play a major role in the child support legislation’s failure. “Who am I? I’m nobody,” said Hadian, a former Washington gubernatorial candidate who travels to discuss what he sees as the evils of Islamic culture.
But his comments on the child support bill struck a chord with at least one lawmaker.
On March 31, Hadian sent Rep. Vito Barbieri and Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll his concerns on the legislation, according to an e-mail obtained by Idaho Reports through a public records request.
“There is NO WHERE in this bill that specifies that no foreign law or ruling in a foreign tribunal can be used in Idaho if that foreign law violates our constitutionally protected rights,” Hadian said. Hadian also mentioned two signatories on the treaty — Bosnia and Albania — are predominantly Muslim.
“Would the rulings of these “foreign tribunals” be accepted in the jurisdiction of the State of Idaho?,” Hadian wrote. “If such, would this not open the door to foreign law and particularly Islamic law (Shari’ah) in Idaho tribunals?”
During an April 9 House Judiciary and Rules committee hearing, Nuxoll testified against the legislation, reading parts of Hadian’s letter verbatim.
You can read Hadian’s letter, as well as an Idaho attorney general opinion refuting many of those concerns, at this link.
While speaking to Idaho Reports, Hadian had other concerns — namely, this is federal intrusion that violates state sovereignty. Hadian objected to states being told to pass the law verbatim, as well as Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter possibly calling a special session and asking lawmakers to pass the bill.
What does Hadian recommend? Take a stand on this, he said, and call the federal government’s bluff. Work with other states to establish child support collection reciprocity that isn’t dependent on the federal government.
If the feds follow through take away funds and tools to enforce child support collection, it’s still worth it, Hadian said, adding the short term hardship for families is worth it.
“I would say to those families, would you rather have short-term gain or lose our liberty long-term?” Hadian said.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare processes approximately $200 million in child support payments annually. Without access to federal child support collection tools, the department won’t be able to process and distribute those payments to Idaho families without rebuilding its system from scratch, director Richard Armstrong told Idaho Reports.
After the House committee tabled the bill, parents who depend on those child support payments wrote to lawmakers to express their dismay.
“I am extremely frustrated to hear that you and Rep. Sims did not support SB1067, the Child Support Bill,” wrote one Coeur d’Alene constituent in a note to Nuxoll obtained through a public records request. “You are not representing the best interests of the citizens, specifically single mother’s (sic) like myself who depend on the child support (from) our former spouses.”
“This is a bigger issue than just the so-called $200 million,” Hadian said. “The fact that the federal government can act in this dictatorial manner toward a sovereign state demanding that a state pass a law verbatim without any input from the state to me is part of the tyranny we’re seeing from this federal government.”
For more on our interview with Hadian, watch Idaho Reports, 8 pm Friday, on Idaho Public Television, or watch online at idahoptv.org.