Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 011316 Contents 6 • 01.13.2016
ohio secretary of state sued over
delay on drug pricing initiative
(AHF) A lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court of Ohio
(Case # 2016-20) late Wednesday afternoon against Ohio
Secretary of State John Husted over, Husted’s, “... failure to
fulfill his clear statutory obligation to certify and transmit
a proposed initiative.
The lawsuit came about in response to Secretary Husted’s
unprecedented actions—or lack thereof—regarding The
Ohio Drug Price Relief Act , a citizen driven ballot initiative
that will revise Ohio law to require state programs pay
the same or less for prescription medications as the U.S .
Department of Veterans Affairs. V.A . pricing is generally
believed to be 20% to 24% lower than for almost any other
Backers of the initiative, who intend to have it appear
on Ohio’s November 2016 presidential election ballot,
submitted 116,015 voter signatures, far more than the
91,677 needed to qualify the initiative. As of late last week,
local election officials Ohio’s 88 counties had certified their
respective signatures, and backers were eagerly awaiting
the formality of the Secretary’s official certification
of signatures and his subsequent transmission of the
proposed [initiative] language to Ohio’s General [Assembly]
for its review and possible legislative action.
The proposed initiative language should have been
transmitted to the General Assembly Monday, January
4th, the opening day of the 2016 legislative session, for its
consideration. However, in a move that served as catalyst
for this lawsuit, Secretary Husted failed to transmit
the initiative to the Assembly and instead returned the
signature petitions to local election officials in all 88
counties, issuing a directive instructing them to, “... re-
certify their findings to the Secretary of State’s Office no
later than January 29, 2016.”
Secretary of State Husted’s actions came after a formal
complaint about the initiative’s signature gathering
and certification process was filed December 30th by
attorneys representing the Pharmaceutical Research and
Manufactuers of America (PhRMA), the drug industry’s
powerful and deep-pocketed trade group. Since 1999,
Bricker & Eckler LLC, PhRMA’s law firm, has regularly
contributed to Secretary Husted’s various political
Compiled by Jillian Melero
Ex-Sen. George Mitchell to Lead
NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade
(EDGE) A former U.S. Senate majority leader who helped
broker peace negotiations in Northern Ireland has been picked
to lead New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
George Mitchell tells the New York Times on Monday (http://
nyti.ms/1RhRrNm ) he agreed to serve as grand marshal after
being assured gay and lesbian groups’ issues “had been fully
Last year the parade ended its controversial ban on
permitting such groups and a gay delegation from parade
sponsor NBCUniversal participated.
A second group, The Lavender & Green Alliance, will
participate this year on March 17.
Mayor Bill de Blasio (dih BLAH’-zee-oh) didn’t march last
year, saying including one group wasn’t open enough.
Mitchell, an 82-year-old Democrat, led negotiations in
Northern Ireland from 1995 to 2001 that eventually lead to the
Good Friday Agreement.
New Army Website Will Assist LGBT
(AVERUSA) The US Army has created a website to establish
online assistance in applying for discharge upgrades. An
upgrade of a discharge classification for a veteran could mean
access to benefits that were previously denied by the veteran’s
other than honorable status, including disability compensation,
separation pay, and education benefits under the GI Bill.
The Army Review Boards Agency (ARBA) “reviews discharges
of former soldiers, except those given by reason of a sentence
of a General Court Martial or over 15 years since discharge.
The purpose of the review is to determine if the discharge was
granted in a proper manner, i.e . in accordance with regulatory
procedures in effect at the time, and that it was equitable, i.e.
giving consideration to current policy, mitigating facts, and the
According to the New York Times, “a 2011 Obama
administration policy generally grants an honorable discharge
to any veteran who was kicked out for homosexuality unless
there were ‘aggravating’ factors, such as misconduct. Records
from the Department of Defense show 80 percent of the nearly
500 requests submitted since 2011 received an upgrade.”
In 2014, Stars and Stripes quoted AVER spokesman Denny
Meyer, saying “LGBT veterans who served and sacrificed in
silence during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as
those who served before and during ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ in
the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan, deserve to see their service
recognized and honored at long last.”
You can visit the Army Discharge Review Board at: http://arba.
Group Urges Gay Marriage
Supporters to Attend Meetings
(AP) Members of the Tennessee Equality Project are
urging those who support gay marriage to attend upcoming
county commission meetings in East Tennessee.
Equality Project Director Chris Sanders told the Johnson
City Press (bit.ly/1O7inMe) that the organization is trying to
organize groups to present dissenting opinions at meetings
in Carter County and Unicoi County. Officials in both places
are expected to consider resolutions later this month that
call for state lawmakers to recognize marriage as being
between only one man and one woman.
Some other counties in East Tennessee have passed
similar measures since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled over
the summer that states had to recognize same-sex marriages.
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