The House Civil Law committee approves a bill that could suspend child support payments for parents who are incarcerated for more than six months. Gretna Representative Joseph Marino says the idea is to reduce debt for inmates, so they have a better chance to succeed when they are released from prison.

"We want that person who is incarcerated to get out, we want them to get a job, we want to get them back on the tax rolls, we want them to go back on to the right path."

The proposal comes from a recommendation made by the governor’s task force that looked at reducing the state’s incarceration rate. While speaking to a representative with the Department of Children and Family Services, Carencro Representative Julie Emerson says an offender is more likely to discuss child support payments, if don’t have huge debts.

"There is a really high probability that coming out with no debt, possibly they would be more willing to come and discuss that with you, therefore benefiting the child and the mother even more now."

There are some exceptions under the proposed law heading to the House floor. Marino says child support payments would still be required if the inmate has the means to pay it, committed a crime against the other parent and if they are in jail, because they are a dead beat parent.

"There is no way you should be sentenced to jail for not paying child support and then having the child support for that situation."