"Alaska's children deserve to be supported by both parents. We want to create an environment where even those parents in arrears want to try to meet their obligations on a monthly basis, not simply give up."
- Speaker Kott
(JUNEAU) - The Alaska State Senate passed HB 513 and HB 514, two bills pertaining to the state's child support services agency. Sponsored by Representative Pete Kott (R-Eagle River), HB 513 and HB 514 passed the floor by a vote of 17-3 and 15-5, respectively.
The legislation modifies the current law to change the name of the division responsible for child support services and increase criminal nonsupport penalties for those who are in arrears and have the ability to pay.
Among the changes proposed by the legislation are provisions to make both criminal nonsupport and aiding and abetting nonpayment of child support felonies. The legislation would also give the child support services agency the authority to forgive a percentage of state debt per year if the nonpaying parent meets the program criteria that the agency will be creating within the next nine months.
"We hope that in changing the name of the agency from Child Support Enforcement Division, to Child Support Services, that the role of the agency will be better emphasized," said Representative Kott of the name change. "Alaska's children deserve to be supported by both parents. We want to create an environment where even those parents in arrears want to try to meet their obligations on a monthly basis, not simply give up. The language was written in response to problems that the division has experienced for years. I hope these modifications to the system will encourage parents to get current with their child support payments, keep court ordered agreements, and assist CSED in helping Alaska's families."