Many have contacted my office about the two major issues on the November ballot. After much research, below is my summary as your state representative.
Issue 1 — Vote No
This is also known as, “MARSY’S Law.” It is modeled after a similar measure in California that was approved after a 1983 case in which a young woman named Marsy Nicholas was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend. The victim’s family saw the accused murderer shortly afterward in a grocery store; they had not been notified he had been released on bail.
My first concern with this is the Ohio Constitution is a place for more general laws. This is a very specific type of an issue that I think belongs in statute law and should be vetted in the committee process where a bill has to go through six committees, both the Ohio House and Senate and be signed by the governor. The reason we have this process is to fully flesh out and have testimony from both sides on why this is good or not good for Ohio.
Second, Ohio’s system already provides notification to victims. Now, I have personally heard many stories, myself, where a victim was not contacted, but that was due to a breakdown in that particular case or with a particular person. Putting law on top of law will not fix that problem.
Third, Issue 1 doesn’t provide any additional resources and may actually delay cases which will increase the cost to the Ohio tax payer and increase the size of government.
Issue 2 – Vote No
This aims to reduce prescription drug prices. There are many mixed opinions from very influential groups about this matter and what it will do and not do. In fact, until much study, I was rather confused. I can certainly sympathize with folks as drug prices are very high, but is government regulation the best way to control a market?
My first concern is principally when artificial controls are put on a market to control pricing by the government, this almost always backfires. I believe the market forces are the best to determine pricing of any given product or service. Just look what has happened with Obamacare. We put huge parts of the medical coverage and health care system under government control and prices for medical coverage is sky rocketing, doctors are leaving the profession as they don’t wish to deal with red tape and actual health care coverage is not as available. Look no further than the recent example of insurance companies pulling out of Ohio giving us all less choices.
Second, this will only affect four out of every 10 Ohioans. So what may happen is, the drug companies are forced to sell to these ‘special groups of folks’ at a lower price and if you aren’t in one of those special groups, the companies may actually increase the price on the 60 percent of Ohioans that are not in one of those groups. So for the majority of Ohioans, this could be a very bad deal.
Third, this initiative is backed by the California based AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Even the very liberal minded California could not pass this ballot initiative because of all the concerns with back-end drug prices rising. I will be voting against Issue 2. Please note that not one single statewide group has been willing to put their name behind this proposal because of the unintended consequences. I believe it is bad public policy to allow government to price fix much of anything. Price fixing always turns out bad for the average citizens.
Nino Vitale is the State Representative for Champaign and parts of Shelby and Logan Counties. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-466-1506.