News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.


U.S. Suicide Rates Significantly Rise

CDC Preventing Suicide CoverBehavioral scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), Division of Violence Prevention recently examined 1999-2016 suicide rates in the United States. “Suicide rates increased significantly in 44 states, with 25 states experiencing increases >30%.  Rates increased significantly among males and females in 34 and 43 states, respectively. … Among decedents with available information, several circumstances were significantly more likely among those without known mental health conditions than among those with mental health conditions, including relationship problems/loss (45.1% versus 39.6%), life stressors (50.5% versus 47.2%), and recent/impending crises (32.9% versus 26.0%)…” The full report, Trends in State Suicide Rates – United States, 1999-2016 and Circumstances Contributing to Suicide – 27 States, 2015, is published in 67 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 617-624 (June 8, 2018). For additional data and information, see the CDC National Violent Death Reporting System website and the Division of Violence Prevention Suicide Prevention page.

Ohio’s Application for PPACA State Innovation Waiver Denied

CCIIO logoOhio’s application for a State Innovation Waiver under section 1332 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was recently denied. Ohio was specifically seeking to waive the “individual mandate.”* Per federal guidelines (see 45 C.F.R. 155.1308(c)), the application was reviewed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of the Treasury (hereinafter “the Departments”). The Departments found the application to be incomplete, as communicated to the Ohio Department of Insurance in a 5/17/18 letter from Randy Pate, Director of the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) and Deputy Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Specifically, the Ohio application did “not include a description of any program implementing a waiver plan for providing coverage that meets section 1332 requirements,” and did not include a description of the reason Ohio was seeking to waive the “individual mandate.” [See requirements detailed at 42 U.S.C. 18052 and 45 C.F.R. 155.1308(f)(3)(iii).] The CCIIO oversees the implementation of PPACA provisions related to private health insurance, including Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers, which permit a state to “pursue innovative strategies for providing their residents with access to high quality, affordable health insurance while retaining the basic protections of the ACA.” After the Departments make a preliminary determination that a State Innovation Waiver application is complete, they provide for a public notice and comment period, and make a final decision on the application within 180 days.

*The “individual mandate” was originally codified at 26 U.S.C. §5000A and 26 C.F.R. 1.5000A-2. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Pub. L. No. 115-97, 131 Stat. 2054, 12/22/17; text not yet available – see Section 11081 of H.R. 1, 115th Cong., 2017) repealed §5000A and eliminated the penalty associated with the individual mandate, beginning in 2019. However, no changes were made to the statutory language that established the mandate. For more information, see The Individual Mandate for Health Insurance Coverage: In Brief, by the Congressional Research Service.

Adding Initiative and Referendum Issues on Ohio Ballots

Flag of OhioContinuing from last Thursday’s post with information about ballot issues in Ohio, there are four methods to put an issue on the ballot: referendum, citizen-initiated constitutional amendment, legislatively-initiated constitutional amendment, and initiated statute.

A statewide referendum challenges a recently enacted law. The referendum process stops a law from becoming effective until the law itself can be submitted to voters to approve or reject at the next regular or general election. Petitioners must follow a detailed process, beginning with submitting an initial petition that includes the full text of the challenged law and signatures from 1,000 registered Ohio voters, to the Secretary of State and the Attorney General. After certification by both offices, petitioners must gather more signatures and file with the Secretary of State at least 125 days prior to an election to get the challenged law on that ballot. A few matters cannot be challenged by referendum including laws providing for tax levies, appropriations for current state government and state institution expenses, and emergency laws immediately necessary for preserving public peace, health, or safety.

Constitutional amendments may appear on statewide ballots in two ways. First, a citizen-initiated amendment  may be proposed when a citizen believes that a matter is not addressed adequately by the Ohio Constitution. An initial petition, with 1,000 registered voter signatures, must be submitted to the Attorney General for certification. Then, the Ohio Ballot Board must certify that the petition contains only one constitutional amendment. After certification by both offices and filing with the Secretary of State, petitioners must gather the required number of signatures and file with the Secretary of State at least 125 days prior to a general election to get the proposed amendment on the ballot. A proposed amendment only needs approval from a majority of voters, and then becomes effective 30 days after the election. Second, a constitutional amendment may be initiated by the General Assembly by passing a joint resolution by a three-fifths vote. The resolution must be filed with the Secretary of State at least 90 days prior to the election. The joint resolution will then appear as an issue on the general election ballot, where if approved by a majority of voters, it will become a constitutional amendment.

Finally, a citizen may initiate a statute if he or she believes that a matter is not adequately addressed by the Ohio Revised Code. Petitioners must file an initial petition, signed by 1,000 registered voters, with the Attorney General. After certification by the Attorney General, and certification from the Ballot Board that the petition contains only one proposed law, the petition is filed with the Secretary of State and petitioners must gather additional signatures.  The petition must then be filed with the Secretary of State at least 10 days prior to the beginning of a General Assembly session. The General Assembly has four months to act on the proposed law, and if it does not pass the law, passes an amended version, or takes no action at all, then petitioners may file supplemental petitions demanding that the proposed law appear on the ballot at the next general election. If the proposed law is approved by a majority of voters, it becomes effective 30 days after the election.

Putting issues on the ballot, and other matters of Ohio election law, are controlled by the Ohio Constitution Art. II and Art. XVI, and by the Ohio Revised Code Title 35.

Information on Ohio’s Upcoming Primary Election

image of hand placing completed ballot into boxLess than one month away, Ohio’s Statewide Primary Election takes place on May 8, 2018. The Secretary of State’s office provides information on statewide issues, candidates for state and district offices, and local issues. Lists of candidates for local offices can be found by contacting the county boards of elections. Ohio voters can easily check their voter registration status, polling location, voting options, and view sample ballots by visiting MyOhioVote.com. While the April 9th deadline to register to vote in the May primary has passed, voters have until October 9th to register for the November general election. All deadlines for registrations, petitions, and other election-related filings can be found on the 2018 Elections Calendar, maintained by the Secretary of State’s office.

The May 8th Primary features one statewide issue. Issue 1: Creates a bipartisan, public process for drawing congressional districts, is a constitutional amendment initiated by the General Assembly. In Ohio there are several methods to put an issue on the ballot: referendum, citizen initiated constitutional amendment, General Assembly initiated constitutional amendment, and citizen initiated statute. To learn more about each method, check back here next Thursday.

US Supreme Court Records and Briefs Database

Faculty and students at Cleveland-Marshall have access to Gale’s U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs database. This database contains briefs and related documents from Supreme Court cases between 1832 and 1978. Previously, many of these briefs were not available through any of the library’s other legal databases, so this is a very useful for anyone doing research on older Supreme Court cases.

Access to this database is IP-authenticated for users connected to the law school’s computer network; faculty and students can also access the database while off campus by logging in with their CSU ID number and library PIN.