MEIGS COUNTY, Ohio – Meigs County will be voting on local issues along with two state wide issues in the Nov. 7, 2017 election.
Two issues will be on the ballot. One involves crime victim’s rights and the other prescription drug costs.
Issue One – Rights for Crime Victims
The language on the ballot is, “Issue One is a proposed amendment to repeal and replace the existing language in Section 10a of Article 1 of the Constitution of the State of Ohio. The proposed amendment would expand the rights of victims under the current Section 10a and require that the rights of victims be protected as vigorously as the rights of the accused. More specifically, for the purpose of ensuing due process, respect, fairness, and justice for crime victims and their families in the criminal and juvenile justice systems, the amendment would provide victims with: the right to privacy and to be treated with respect, fairness, and dignity; the right to information about the rights and services available to crime victims; the right to notification in a timely manner of all proceedings, including the right to petition the court to protect the victim’s rights; the right to a prompt conclusion of the case; to refuse discovery requests made by the accused, except as authorized by Article 1, Section 10 of the Ohio Constitution; the right to reasonable protection from the accused; the right to notice of the release or escape of the accused; and the right to restitution. The proposed amendment would not establish a cause of action for damages or compensation against the state or any political subdivision. If approved, the amendment will be effective 90 days after the election. YES NO Shall the amendment be approved?”
Issue One, more commonly known as Marsy’s Law stemmed from a case in California in which one week after a young woman was stalked and killed by her boyfriend in 1983. Her mother was confronted by the accused murderer in a store. Prior to the law in California, crime victims did not have the right to be notified when a defendant was released on bail. The law has been passed in other states to ensure rights for crime victims and their families.
Supporters of Issue One seek equal rights for Crime Victims the initiative. Issue One would give rights to the victim they currently do not have according to Ohio law. According to supporters of Issue One, Ohio’s laws would be strengthened and would guarantee victims are notified during each step in the legal process. As the law currently stands, notification of proceedings for the accused is guaranteed, but victims do not have such rights. Issue One would give crime victims rights to notification and give victims and their families the right to be present in the courtroom and a voice in the judicial process. Currently crime victims are not guaranteed restitution. Issue One would empower all Ohioans by guaranteeing that crime victims and their family members have input into plea bargains as well as financial restitution from the offender, if appropriate, according to supporters of Issue One. Supporters say issues with notification currently not addressed would be addressed for crime victims if Issue One passes.
Opponents of Issue One hold that Ohio law requires prosecutors to notify victims when a defendant is arrested or eligible for Pretoria’s release. In 1998, Ohio implemented one of the nation’s first automated victim notification systems, which offers victims information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Opponents also hold if there are issues with additional resources needed for victim’s services, that issue should be addressed, but not through an amendment to the Ohio constitution. Opponents also hold Issue One gives crime victims the right to refuse to turn over potential evidence and to petition the court of appeals.
There has been bi-partisan support for Issue One.
Issue Two – Prescription Drugs
The language on the ballot reads, “To require state agencies to not pay more prescription drugs than the federal Department of Veterans Affairs and require state payment of attorney fees and expenses to specific individuals for defense of the law. Proposed Law Proposed by Initiative Petition to enact Chapter 194 of the Ohio Revised Code, which would: require the State of Ohio, including its state departments, agencies and entities, to not pay more for prescription drugs than the price paid by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs; Establish that the individual petitioners responsible for proposing the law have a direct and personal stake in defending the law; require the State to pay petitioners’ reasonable attorney fees and other expenses; require the petitioners to pay $10,000 to the State if the law is held by a court to be unenforceable and limit petitioners’ personal liability to that amount; and require Attorney General to defend the law if challenged in court. YES NO Shall the proposed law be adopted?”
Supporters of Issue Two say Ohioans pay too much in life-saving medicine and that Issue Two would change Ohio law to ensure the lowest price is paid for medicine. Supporters claim it would save Ohioans money.
Opponents, however, call Issue Two an “unworkable regulatory scheme for state prescription drug purchases includes requirement to pay attorney fees and expenses.” Arguments against Issue Two include the wording is vague which would lead issues down the road with the law along with leaving out two thirds of Ohio’s population altogether. Issue Two also gives its sponsors the unprecedented right to intervene in legal challenges to the regulation and to pay the sponsors’ attorney’s fees and expenses, win or lose. It sets no cap on the total amount of attorneys fees and expenses. They also point out the initiative is funded by a health care CEO from California. The issue only applies to the limited number of drugs the VA purchases, opponents say it could restrict access to medications.
There has been bi-partisan opposition to Issue Two.