State and County Issues
FOR YOUR INFORMATION:
- The title listed for each issue is the official title assigned by the Ohio Ballot Board.
- Summaries of each issue immediately following the official ballot wording originated from material issued by the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland and the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
- The pros and cons listed for each issue are abbreviated versions of the arguments put forward by the respective issue campaigns.
- The League of Women Voters is a national nonpartisan organization that supports or opposes issues it studies, but does not endorse candidates.
- To view LWV positions on current issues – firstname.lastname@example.org
STATE ISSUE 1 — Marsy’s Law
Will appear on the ballot as “STATE ISSUE 1: Rights for Crime Victims”
Generally known as Marsy’s Law or “Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights,” this initiative would alter the state Constitution to require that crime victims be notified and consulted on developments in their cases.
(Proposed by Initiative Petition)
A YES vote means approval of the constitutional amendment.
A NO vote means disapproval of the constitutional amendment.
If approved, the proposed amendment will take effect 90 days after Election Day.
League Explanation of Issue 1:
Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights
Issue 1 (Marsy’s Law) will alter the state constitution to significantly expand the rights of victims in Ohio. The law would ensure that crime victims have a meaningful role throughout criminal and juvenile justice systems. It would provide crime victims with specific constitutional rights, including the right to be treated with fairness and respect for the victim’s safety, dignity, and privacy; to be notified about and present at proceedings; to be heard at proceedings involving release, plea, sentencing, disposition, or parole of the accused; to a prompt conclusion of the case; to reasonable protection from the accused; to be notified about release or escape of the accused; to refuse an interview or deposition at the request of the accused; and to receive restitution from the individual who committed the criminal offense.
Marsy's Law is named after Marsy Nicholas, a California college student who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. One week after her death,
One week after her death, her mother and brother Henry walked into a grocery store where they saw the accused murderer. The family had no idea that he had been released on bail. Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, brother of Marsy, is the key backer and proponent of Marsy’s Law. Marsy’s Law initiatives have been passed in California, Illinois, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota (see https://marsyslaw.us/about-marsys-law/marsys-story/).
There is already language addressing rights of crime victims in the Ohio constitution which voters passed in 1994. However, Marsy’s Law would replace it with language that, as described above, would expand the existing rights of victims and would establish new rights for victims.
Pros: 1. This proposed law will increase the legal rights and privileges of victims. 2. Marsy's Law would replace the 1994 Ohio Victims' Rights Amendment, which victims' rights advocates said has been unenforceable. 3. The proposed law would ensure that victims are informed when the accused offender is released from custody. 4. It will inform crime victims of their rights.
Cons: 1. The amendment would override state law, eliminating judges' abilities to weigh the rights of victims and defendants. 2. Victims are already protected by 1994 Ohio Victims' Rights Amendment in the constitution. 3. The amendment would allow crime victims to directly file an appeal, overstepping the decisions of prosecutors. 4. Victims could refuse to be interviewed or to turn over pertinent evidence or testimony.
PROPONENTS: Marsy's Law for Ohio is leading the campaign in support of the initiative.
OPPONENTS: As of our publication deadline, no organized opposition has formed; however, representatives from the legal profession have voiced concerns and may formalize their opposition. This Vote411 summary will be updated if and when an opposition campaign is announced.
This Vote411 summary will be updated if and when an opposition campaign is announced.
STATE ISSUE 2 — The Ohio Drug Price Relief Act
Will appear on the ballot as “STATE ISSUE 2: To require state agencies to not pay more for 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”
Prohibits the state from buying any prescription drug from a drug manufacturer for a price over the lowest price paid for the drug by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
(Proposed by Initiative Petition)
A YES vote means approval of the Act.
A NO vote means disapproval of the Act.
If approved, the proposed Act will take effect immediately after Election Day.
League Explanation of Issue 2:
STATE ISSUE The Ohio Drug Price Relief Act
Issue 2 would limit the amount the state and state agencies could pay for prescription drugs. This Act is designed to restrict the amount that any state agency could pay for drugs, tying it to the price paid by the VA. The VA negotiates drug prices with companies and typically pays 20 to 24 percent less than other agencies for prescription drugs. Specifically, it would forbid state agencies to enter into any purchasing agreement with drug manufacturers unless the net cost of the drug is the same or less than that paid by the VA.
State agencies would not be allowed to pay more than the VA pays for a particular medication. These state agencies include, but are not limited to, the Ohio Department of Aging, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Insurance, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, and the Ohio Department of Medicaid (the program for people with low incomes or disabilities).
The bill will only impact those who receive drugs paid for by the State, not those with any other type of coverage. If adopted, the proposed statute would affect only those associated with the above mentioned state agencies - roughly 4 million Ohioans. The Act would not apply to those who use private insurance, Medicare, or other non-state-provided coverage - approximately 7 million Ohioans.
PROS: 1. Drug costs are the main driver of rising health care cost. There is an urgent need to control costs while maintaining access to needed medications. 2. Too many Ohioans must choose between the basic necessities of life and paying for their medications. 3. There is an indirect benefit to taxpayers as the state would save an estimated $536 million per year on drugs. This could free up some substantial money that the state could use for other programs.
CONS: 1. The Act does not define some important terms, such as “drug,” “state,” “ultimate payer,” and “net cost.” 2. The Act does not address pricing of drugs that are not purchased by the VA and creates costly, complex purchasing arrangements. 3. Pharmaceutical companies might respond to passage of the Act by a) negating existing discounts and rebates, b) raising prescription prices charged to non-covered entities and individuals, and/or c) raising prices charged to the VA.
PROPONENTS: Yes on Issue 2, also known as Ohio Taxpayers for Lower Drug Prices, is leading the campaign in support of the initiative.
OPPONENTS: No on Issue 2, also known as Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue, is leading the campaign in opposition to the initiative
A similar proposition (Proposition 61) appeared on the California ballot in 2016. It was defeated. More information on California Proposition 61.
Analysis from Vorys Healthcare Advisors commissioned by Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Issue, the campaign opposing the proposal.
COUNTY ISSUE 59 — Proposed Tax Levy (Renewal) Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority
Proposed Tax Levy (Renewal) Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage. A renewal of a tax for the benefit of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority for the purpose of providing funds necessary for the Port Authority at a rate not exceeding 0.13 mill for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to 1.3 cents for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for five years, commencing in 2018, first due in calendar year 2019.
LEAGUE EXPLANATION OF COUNTY ISSUE 59: The 0.13 mill. Port Authority levy expires at the end of 2017. This ballot issue asks voters to approve the same amount. If passed, the levy will raise about $1.3 million a year and cost a homeowner about $3.45 for every $100,000 of home value.
PROS: Many Cleveland jobs are dependent on the port, and the materials that move through it. Raw materials for steel production, the building trades and other industry go through the port, before being transferred to trucks and rail transportation. The Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority (CCPA) has taken the initiative in leading governmental agencies preventing the dumping of dredge from the river into Lake Erie and in developing an alternative that makes use of dredge. And it is planning to rebuild the collapsing wall at Irishtown Bend that could block the river and disrupt commercial traffic. The plan also includes a public park area. The CCCPA financed the Cleveland-Europe Express, an agreement with a Belgian company, to ship containers directly from Antwerp through the St. Lawrence Seaway. This ensures quicker delivery from Europe, and bypasses the busy Atlantic seaports.
CONS: The Cleveland-Europe Express is currently financed by the port and costs are higher than revenue. There will not be a return on investment until the ships are fully loaded with containers on their twice-monthly trips, and does not run during winter months. The Irishtown Bend project is very expensive and will depend on multiple funding sources, which have not yet been secured.
COUNTY ISSUE 61 — Proposed Bond Issue Cuyahoga Community College District
Shall bonds be issued by the Cuyahoga Community College District for the purpose of paying the costs of acquiring, constructing, furnishing and equipping the capital facilities, or such other acquisition of sites, erection, furnishing and equipping of buildings, or acquisition, construction or improvement of property in the principal amount of $227,500,000, to be repaid annually over a maximum period of 25 years, and an annual levy of property taxes be made outside of the ten-mill limitation, estimated by the County Fiscal Officer to average over the repayment period of the bond issue 0.5 mill for each one dollar of tax valuation, which amounts to 5 cents for each one hundred dollars of tax valuation, commencing in 2017, first due in calendar year 2018, to pay the annual debt charges on the bonds and to pay debt charges on any notes issued in anticipation of those bonds?
YES NO A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage.
LEAGUE EXPLANATION OF COUNTY ISSUE 61: Cuyahoga Community College is asking voters to support a 0.5 mill. bond issue that will fund construction and renovation projects at several campuses. The 25-year bond issue would generate about $227 million for the college. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay less than $1.50 per month, or $18 a year, for 25 years.
PROS: The property tax increase would cost the owner of a $100,000 home less than $1.50 per month, or about $18 a year, over a 25-year period. The bond issue would generate about $227 million for investment across Tri-C campuses, and would fund building renovations; help the college keep pace with technology; and allow it to build instructional centers devoted to science, technology, engineering and math programs. It would also reduce the college's need to divert educational dollars for repairs, maintenance and equipment purchases.
CONS: Cuyahoga County taxpayers pay two property taxes to the college. The taxes, passed in 2009 and 2014—both for a 10-year period—total $126.44 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home. For some, an additional property tax increase may seem too high a price to pay.
League of Women Voters
The 2017 Voters Guide to Candidates and Issues is published as a public service by the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, CH-UH and FutureHeights. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization whose mission is to encourage the informed participation by citizens in government. FutureHeights is a nonprofit community development organization. Election Day is Nov. 7, 2017. Polls are open 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.