Weekly Legislative Report: Ohio voters have spoken...decisively

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Nov. 9, 2017

Ohio voters left little room for doubt about where they stand on the two statewide issues on the ballot Tuesday.  
 
State Issue 1, which enumerates specific rights for Ohio victims of crime in the Ohio Constitution's Bill of Rights, passed with 82.6 percent of the vote according to final, unofficial totals from the Ohio Secretary of State's office. Meanwhile, State Issue 2, an initiated statute which sought to cap the amount Ohio could pay for certain prescription drugs to no more than the prices negotiated by the federal Veterans Administration was resoundingly rejected by 79.3 percent of Ohio voters. 
 
You can view the results by county by visiting the Ohio Secretary of State's election night website: https://vote.ohio.gov/. This is also where certified results will be posted in a few weeks after county boards of elections have sorted and counted provisional ballots and any absentee ballots postmarked, but not received by Election Day.

What's Next? 

Passage of Issue 1 makes Ohio the sixth state to adopt "Marsy's Law," which is named for the sister of California business man Henry Nicholas, who was murdered by an ex-boyfriend. Nicholas and his mother did not know the killer had been released on bond before running into him at a local grocery store. Nicholas has said his ultimate goal is to see a similar amendment enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.  
 
While well-intentioned and clearly popular with the electorate, the OSBA Board of Governors had opposed Issue 1, concerned about the unintended consequences and noting that protections for crime victims already exist, and are most appropriate in the Ohio Revised Code. Other opponents of the measure, including the State Public Defender and the ACLU have predicted that lawsuits are likely to arise when victims' rights inevitably come into conflict with the rights of the accused. The Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys also opposed the measure. The OSBA will monitor any developments as well as any potential implementing legislation in the weeks and months ahead and keep the membership posted.

Results in Judicial Elections 

In other election-related news, voters in 53 counties elected 109 municipal court judgeswww.Judicialvotescount.org has been updated to reflect the results. 

Will Ohio End Dower Estate? 

With little fanfare (but highly anticipated strong feelings from family law and real property practitioners), Representatives Jonathan Dever (R-Maderia) and Representative Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) have introduced House Bill 407, legislation that would abolish the estate by dower, which currently grants the spouses of property owners an interest in the property though they are not on the title. The bill would not affect the dower interest of a surviving spouse whose interest vested before the effective date of the bill should it be adopted.

Tracking OSBA Legislation 

As always, track OSBA priority bills via the Legislative section at www.OhioBar.org.

Week Ahead 

The Ohio House and Senate have "if needed" session days scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 14. On Wednesday,​ Nov. 15, the Senate is scheduled to be in session, with the House slated for session "if needed." These will be the last session days until after the Thanksgiving holiday.

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