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Amendment 8 Challenge Heard By Circuit Court Judge

August 17th, 2018 by Jake Stofan
A circuit court judge heard arguments in a case to remove amendment 8 from the November ballot Friday morning.
Amendment 8 would require civics be taught in public schools and put term limits on school board members.
The League of Women Voters argues those two ideas only seek to conceal a more controversial part of the amendment, which would take away a local school board’s authority over schools it didn’t establish.
“They take these two disjunctive things to distract you from the unintelligible part in the middle,” said the Leagues attorney Ron Meyer.
But the state says the choice for voters is clear.
“This constitutional change is really a very simple fundamental change and we believe that really the voters have a right to see this,” said the attorney representing the Secretary of State, Blaine Winship.
The League argues the change would allow the state to hand over control of charter schools to a state agency and eliminate local control.
It argues the language voters will see doesn’t fully explain what the amendment does and should therefore be removed from the ballot.
“The real meat of this amendment, the damage that’s being done to public education by it, it’s not explained anywhere,” said Meyer.
Both sides agree if Amendment 8 passes, the longterm effects are unclear and subject to the Legislature’s interpretation.
“This would be something that would presumably be up to the legislation that’s turned out by our elected Legislators and subject to judicial decisions,” said Winship. “You know in this state almost everything in this area tends to get litigated.”
Judge John Cooper says he hopes to issue a final ruling on the case by Monday morning.
Amendment 8 is also being challenged in a separate suit brought by a former State Supreme Court Justice.
That lawsuit is seeking to remove a total of six amendments from the November ballot for breaking the multiple subject rule.

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