Statement by State Representative John Rogers

State Rep. John Rogers (D-Bham) (205-306-4275) has designated me (Bob Friedman) to present an opposing view to appear on the ballot explanation of Amendment 14.

Amendment 14 asks voters to participate in a conspiracy countermanding a Circuit Court judge’s decision (Michael Graffeo of Birmingham) who ruled that the legislature illegally passed a bill without a quorum present. That bill was an unconstitutional effort to take Jefferson County’s school tax money and use it for non school purposes. They needed a referendum to accomplish that and knew that would fail. After Graffeo ruled their bill (Act 2015-226) was passed illegally, the Jefferson County legislators appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court but knew they had a weak case. After all, Graffeo finally called them on what they had been doing for years - violating Act 448 - disregarding their own rules, and passing bills without quorums present.

The citizen’s suit charges Act 2015-226 violates the Alabama Constitution. You cannot convert the county school tax, a general bill, to a local bill without a vote of the people. So the legislators and Jefferson County commissioners created Amendment 14, employing a fear tactic on TV, that 600 bills would unravel and that would create chaos. Untrue!! Only two bills are in question because of the statute of limitations. One is the Chilton County hospital issue - now in the courts - and the other is the grand theft attempted by Jefferson County politicians to rip off the citizen’s school funds. Amendment 14 "clears up" nothing. Amendment 14 is designed to overturn Graffeo’s quorum decision, that’s all!! Further, these same legislators petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court not to hear the citizens’ constitutional challenge until after November 8th.

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