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Minimum Wage and Drug Pricing Ballot Initiatives

Ohio Minimum Wage Ballot Measure Advances

(November 5, 2015) An effort to increase Ohio’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2021 cleared its second hurdle last Friday paving the way for signature gathering efforts. The Ohio Ballot Board certified the Ohio Fair Wage Amendment as one ballot issue, which means supporters can now collect at least 305,591 signatures of registered Ohio voters, including a certain number in 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, by next July to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. The group behind the proposal, Stand Up for Ohio, seeks to increase Ohio’s minimum wage to $10 an hour on Jan. 1, 2017 and 50 cents per hour each year after until it reaches $12 an hour in 2021. After which, the minimum wage would be tied to inflation like it currently stands today. The amendment also would require employers to pay tipped employees $6 per hour in 2017 and increase wages by $1 per hour each year until it coincides with the full minimum wage. OGA will continue to monitor this issue as it moves forward and keep open dialogue with other business groups who also would be impacted by this measure.

Proposed Minimum Wage and Drug Pricing Ballot Initiatives Surface

(October 15, 2015) Earlier this week, a proposal to raise Ohio’s minimum wage to $12.00 per hour was filed with the Ohio Attorney General’s office. Submitted by a group called “Stand Up Ohio,’ the proposal seeks to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot likely next year, 2016, to increase the minimum wage. The language seeks to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour effective January 1, 2017, with incremental increases of 50 cents per year until it reaches $12 per hour in 2021. Therefore after, it would be tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is the same as current law. As we await next steps – the proposal must be certified and the supporters would have to garner the appropriate amount of signatures to be placed on the ballot – OGA will continue to closely monitor the situation. OGA has serious concerns with this proposed language and will continue to report back to membership any updates.

OGA also has similar concerns with the proposed “Ohio Drug Price Relief Act” initiated statue which would require state programs to pay no more for prescription medications than prices negotiated by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. The Ohio Ballot Board approved the language in August, and as with an initiated statue, supporters were given the green light to collect the necessary signatures to put the issue before the Ohio General Assembly. Should they be successful, the General Assembly would have four months to act on the legislation and if they reject or alter the language, supporters would have the opportunity to collect additional signatures to put the issue before voters, which would be the 2016 election if achieved. We worry about the impact such a proposal would have on our pharmacies and the costs associated with it.