One theme of today: Who can we blame for this mess?
During the House Ways and Means meeting, House Majority Leader Mike Moyle said he was against introducing the child support legislation, largely because he opposed the process and how members of his caucus who opposed the original bill were treated by the media and the Department of Health and Welfare. “I felt like they were lied to,” Moyle said, saying had people known earlier they could make amendments to the bill that affect other sections of code, the legislature could have avoided the mess. (Idaho Reports addressed the timeline on who knew what, and when, in a previous post.)
During the Joint Judiciary and Rules public hearing, Rep. Patrick McDonald put Department of Health and Welfare director Richard Armstrong on the spot, asking why not everyone knew about the ability to amend the legislation.
“We believed we were conveying the message,” Armstrong said. “However, as Rep. Dayley has pointed out, just because I say these words doesn’t mean you are receiving the words the same way I am saying them.”
Armstrong then took responsibility for any miscommunications.
Last week, in an interview with Idaho Reports, House Speaker Scott Bedke also took responsibility.
““I feel ultimately responsible for all the legislation that goes through,” he said. “Obviously this one I needed to be involved in a greater degree than I was.”
More than 30 people are signed up to testify on House Bill 1, the new child support bill. One interesting note: Most of the people who are testifying against the bill are representing themselves, while most testifying for the bill represent groups both big and small, such as AARP, Idaho Interfaith Roundtable Against Hunger, Idaho Voices For Children, and Idaho AFL-CIO.
No representatives of the Idaho Freedom Foundation are signed up to testify, though the organization has been a prominent opponent of the proposed legislation. (Correction, 11:13 am: Brent Regan, IFF co-chair, is signed up to testify.)