Section: News

On the Ballot

On Nov. 7, Knox County residents will vote on a number of tax levies and ballot issues that will affect citizens in the area. The Collegian took a closer look at some of the issues on the ballot.

Issue 1: Rights for Crime Victims

This amendment would address the treatment of crime victims, ensuring that the rights of the victims would be as protected as the rights of the accused. This means that the victims would have a right to privacy, a right to be protected from the accused, the right to prompt a conclusion of a case and the right to be present and heard at all court proceedings.

Those in favor of voting yes, on Issue I claim that this issue will give victims equal rights — and that the measure will guarantee that families have the right to be present in the courtroom at all times. It will also “guarantee that crime victims and their family members have input into plea bargains as well as financial restitution from the offender, if appropriate.” The argument for the measure, which can be found on www.sos.state.oh.us, also says that 275 lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, support the issue.

The argument for voting no, endorsed by Tim Young, an Ohio public defender, states that the law originated in California, where a mother was confronted by her daughter’s accused killer a week after her daughter’s death. The mother did not know that the person had been released on bail, Young argues that Ohio does not have this issue, because Ohio law requires prosecutors to notify victims when a defendant is arrested or eligible for pretrial release. Those against Issue I state that the law “conflicts with essential guarantees in the Bill of Rights, including double jeopardy, confrontation, and speedy trial — rights fundamental to our Founders.”

Issue 2: Requires state agencies not to pay more for prescription drugs than the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

Issue 2 also requires state payment of attorney fees and expenses to specific individuals for defense of the law. It would also ensure that the individual petitioners have a personal stake in defending the law, and would require the state to pay for their attorney’s fees. It would also require the petitioners to pay $10,000 if the measure was held by a court to be unenforceable.

The argument for Issue 2 states that, if the law were passed, it would save Ohioans $400 million in prescription drug expenses, and would ensure that taxpayers pay the lowest possible price for medicine. The argument claims that drug companies have overpriced prescription drugs and that Ohio citizens pay too much for life-saving medicine.

Some nurses, pharmacists and hospitals oppose Issue 2 because the law doesn’t cover two-thirds of Ohio citizens, including those who rely on Medicaid and obtain medication through state programs. Along with this, the argument against states, “Health care experts say requiring Ohio to purchase drugs at the lowest price paid by the VA would be impossible to implement because, by law, the VA does not disclose this price.” People against the law call it deceptive and impractical.

Proposed Tax Levy (Replacement) Knox County Health Department

“A replacement of a tax for the benefit of Knox County for the purpose of providing for the operating expenses of the Knox County Health Department at a rate not exceeding eight-tenths (0.8) mill for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to eight cents ($0.08) for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for 5 years, commencing in 2018, first due in calendar year 2019.”

Proposed Sales and Use Tax Levy Knox County 9-1-1

“The Board of County Commissioners of Knox County proposes to levy a continuation of a sales and use tax in the amount of one quarter of one percent for the purpose of the operation of a 9-1-1 system for a period of 5 years.”

Proposed Tax Levy (Replacement) Knox County Park District

“A replacement of a tax for the benefit of Knox County for the purpose of acquiring, developing, and improving, and protecting parks and bike trails and to operate, manage and promote said areas at a rate not exceeding thirty five-hundredths (0.35) mill for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to three and one-half cents ($0.035) for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for 5 years, commencing in 2018, first due in calendar year 2019.”

These descriptions were taken from a sample ballot and edited for length and clarity. For all levies, a majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage.

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