A former chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, State Representative John H. Rogers (D-Norwood) today filed an amendment to a line-item in the state’s budget that pays out judgments for the state’s losses in court.
Rogers said he is disappointed in a recent ruling in the U.S District Court where a judge ruled that the state’s taxpayers must pay for an inmate’s sex reassignment surgery. The Rogers Amendment would block any payments unless the matter is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“It is difficult for many to believe at a time when 225,000 of our state’s citizens are out of work and even millions more struggling to get by that they should be forced to pay for a sex change of a convicted murderer, who seemingly has more rights on the inside than law-abiding citizens on the outside,” said Rogers.
The amendment restricts item 1599-3384 in section 2 of the state budget which sets aside money “for the payment of certain court judgments, settlements and legal fees... which were ordered to be paid in the current fiscal year or a prior fiscal year”.
The inmate, Michelle l. Kosilek, who was born Robert Kosilek and married to Cheryl Kosilek, is serving a life sentence in MCI- Norfolk for her murder in 1990. Kosilek sued the state’s Department of Corrections claiming that the state’s denial of her sex change operation from a man to a woman is a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
Rogers says that he respects the District Court’s authority to hand down such a ruling but says “I respectfully disagree with the ruling itself and that state taxpayers should not have to pay the bill at least until the final arbiter of the US Constitution, the Supreme Court, has the final say.”