A measure that suspends child support payments for individuals incarcerated for over 180 days nears final legislative passage as the bill heads to the House for approval of Senate changes. Metairie Senator Danny Martiny is a co-author and says it’s virtually impossible for a parent behind bars to pay child support.
“This really applies to somebody who can’t afford to pay it because he’s in jail. This allows the money to accrue and when he gets out, he goes back on the same payment plan.”
But Lafayette Senator Page Cortez says some offenders will still refuse to pay up.
“That this would almost serve as an incentive to some people who are in a domestic dispute, whether it’s over custody or what and say you know what, you’re not getting the money. I’ll just go back to jail.”
Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau supports the measure saying this gives an incarcerated parent the time to build up funds to actually pay child support.
“This puts in place a mechanism for change for once, where the mother or father does not have to give up his rights to collect this money.”
The bill is one of 10 different proposals that make up with governor's criminal justice reform package. Supports of the comprehensive plan say it will help reduce the state's inmate population by 10% over the next decade.