Election Results in Few Changes at the Statehouse
Last week’s elections resulted in few changes in the Ohio General Assembly, with Republicans retaining control of the House of Representatives and Senate.
OOA member State Rep. Terry L. Johnson, DO (R-McDermott) received an impressive reelection mandate in a new district which favors Democrats, by beating his opponent with 62 percent of the vote. State Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington), whose brother is a DO, was also reelected.
Recounts in two House races may determine whether the Democrats chip away the current balance of 59 Republicans and 40 Democrats. In the Senate, Republicans had targeted the seat held by Sen. Lou Gentile (D-Steubenville), but he was reelected in spite of heavy advertising against him. Senate Republicans have a 23-10 majority.
Election results in the important but down-ballot Ohio Supreme Court races means the Court will probably become more divided by political ideology after two years of collegiality. William O’Neill and Sharon Kennedy will replace current Justices Robert Cupp and Yvette McGee Brown, both highly rated by the Ohio State Bar Association, while those elected received lesser ratings. Justice Terrence O’Donnell was the only incumbent Justice reelected.
The OOA, Ohio Hospital Association, and Ohio State Medical Association have filed amicus briefs in three tort reform cases now awaiting decisions by the state’s highest court. These include Ruther v. Kaiser,which deals with the constitutionality of Ohio’s Statute of Repose; Moretz v. Muakkassa, which deals with medical bill “write offs”; and Johnson v. Smith, which deals with sympathetic statements and gestures made to patients by physicians. The three associations maintain a “court watch” to help defeat challenges to Ohio’s tort reform laws.
The legislature will be in lame duck session for several weeks, wrapping up any unfinished business before it adjourns permanently in mid-December. Notable bills scheduled for hearings in the House and Senate health committees include:
- HB 143 (concussions and head injuries in youth sports);
- HB 334 (pseudoephdrine/ ephedrine sales tracking system);
- HB 284 (physician assistants law revisions); and
- HB 485 (nurse anesthetists medication orders).
Other legislation expected to pass include HB 251 (oriental medicine); HB 417 (notice of termination of physician employment) and SB 301, which amends statues pertaining to pain clinics and establishes an inspection process. Bills that do not pass by the time the session ends will go “sine die” and have to be reintroduced when the newly-elected lawmakers take their places for the 130th General Assembly.