Political briefs – Aug. 14

Staff report

BROWN AND SEVEN OTHER SENATORS PRESS FDA TO TAKE ACTION ON E-CIGARETTES – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined seven of his colleagues in calling on the Food and Drug Administration to set clear product and manufacturing standards to combat the health risks of toxic substances in e-cigarettes. The number of e-cigarette users — especially among young people — has soared in recent years, but little is known about the long-term health risks for users and the risks of breathing in second-hand aerosol. The letter was also signed by Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

“Because e-cigarettes are not yet regulated by FDA, e-cigarette manufacturers have been able to introduce these products to the market without having to test them for potentially harmful substances, adhere to good manufacturing processes, or meet other standards to minimize risk,” the senators wrote in a letter to Acting FDA Commissioner Stephen Ostroff.

More than 466 different brands of e-cigarettes in thousands of flavors have entered the market without any testing. Carcinogens and other toxins have been found in the aerosol produced by e-cigarettes, and poor manufacturing can cause problems like battery leaks and explosions.

OHIO BALLOT BOARD CERTIFIES PROPOSED “OHIO DRUG PRICE RELIEF ACT” INITIATED STATUE AS SINGLE ISSUE – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced the Ohio Ballot Board has certified a proposed initiated statute concerning the price paid for prescription medications by state agencies.

Petitioners must now collect 91,677 signatures, a number equal to three percent of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, 2014, in order to bring the issue before the General Assembly for consideration. Petitioners must file the required number of valid signatures with the Secretary of State’s Office not less than 10 days prior to the start of any legislative session, which begin on the first Monday of each calendar year.

Should the petitioners meet the signature threshold, the General Assembly will be granted four months to act on the proposed law. If lawmakers do not pass the law, pass it in an amended form or take no action after four months, petitioners may collect additional signatures in order to place the issue on the ballot. The number of supplemental signatures required is 91,677, again equal to three percent of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election. The supplemental signatures must be presented to the Secretary of State within 90 days after any action by the General Assembly or at the conclusion of the four month period and no later than 125 days before the General Election at which the petitioners wish for the initiative to be placed on the ballot.

HUSTED REMOVES FRACKING CHARTER PROPOSALS FROM BALLOT IN THREE COUNTIES – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted ruled on protests filed with his office that questioned the validity of county charter ballot proposals in Athens, Fulton and Medina Counties. In all three counties, the Secretary upheld the protests by invalidating the charter proposals and certifying that they would not receive a place on the Nov. 3 General Election ballot.

As part of his decision, the Secretary found that the proposed provisions in each of the charters relating to oil and gas exploration represented an attempt to circumvent state law in a manner the courts have already found to be in violation of the Ohio Constitution.

“The issue of whether local communities can get around state laws on fracking has already been litigated,” Secretary Husted said. “Allowing these proposals to proceed will only serve a false promise that wastes taxpayer’s time and money and will eventually end in sending the charters to certain death in the courts.”


Staff report