The Right to Try: Give Hope to Terminal Patients

The Right to Try: Give Hope to Terminal Patients

Darcey Olsen’s recently released book Right to Try gives a powerful look at how states can defend the rights of the terminally ill. The book takes its title from the “Right to Try” laws enacted in 24 states, which allow terminal patients to access potentially lifesaving treatments without full FDA approval.

FDA approval is a long, costly procedure. After treatments are proven safe they are subjected to numerous clinical trials to demonstrate effectiveness. These effectiveness trials often take years, and patients are denied access to safe treatments until the FDA is convinced they are effective.

Of course, terminally ill patients rarely have years to wait and, with no other options, they may be more willing to try something unproven than a board of FDA bureaucrats.

Right to Try showcases stories of patients seeking innovative new treatments for cancer, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and other fatal diseases. In each case, potentially lifesaving treatments existed but were not approved by the FDA.

 For example, consider Diego Morris, an eleven year old from Arizona who suffered from a rare form of bone cancer. Diego’s family had to move to London in order to get access to mifamurtide, an award-winning treatment used in the EU but not approved by the FDA.

With the help of mifamurtide, Diego recovered and became a champion of the Right to Try movement in Arizona. In 2014, Arizona voters turned out by the millions to vote for Prop 303, giving terminally ill patients the right to seek out promising treatments like mifamurtide.

Unfortunately, not every story ends as happily as Diego’s. Many patients, children and seniors alike, die every year waiting for their best option to be rubber-stamped by Washington.

Right to Try laws have been enacted in 24 states now, crucial for those patients who desperately need access to drugs languishing in the FDA bureaucracy. Unfortunately, Ohio is not one of these states.

Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) has introduced House Bill 290, which, if passed, would allow terminal patients access to drugs that have cleared safety trials. Following testimony from muscular dystrophy patients, the bill may be amended to allow even more access to potentially miraculous cures.

Proceeds from the sale of Right to Try are used to advance the rights of the terminally ill nationwide.


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New report identifies 31 job licenses for Ohio to eliminate or scale back

Sen. Kris Jordan (R-Delaware) and salon owner Charles Penzone listen to Sen. Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus) explain why Ohio should stop requiring that hair salon managers have a special state license.

The Buckeye Institute released a new report today advocating that licensing requirements be eliminated or sharply reduced for Ohioans in 31 occupations.

Forbidden to Succeed: How Licensure Laws Hold Back Ohioans documents how job licenses burden many low- and moderate income Ohioans in jobs  such as hair salon manager, make-up artist, travel guide and social services assistant.

The expensive and often unnecessary licensing requirements make it hard for workers to get ahead and for small businesses to succeed, the report said.

“A job is a stepping-stone to a better life for low-income Ohioans. Unfortunately, many moderate-income jobs in Ohio require hundreds of dollars in government licensure fees plus the completion of thousands of hours of training,” writes Tom Lampman, the William and Helen Diehl Fiscal Policy Fellow at The Buckeye Institute.

The institute’s report was released at an Ohio Statehouse news briefing attended by four legislators from both parties:  Sen. Kris Jordan (R-Delaware); Sen. Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus); Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson); and Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati).

The legislators have targeted the hair salon manager’s license for elimination. Ohio is the only state that has this license, burdening cosmetology students with extra debt and requiring hair stylists to have a special state license to get promoted.

In the photo, Sen. Jordan and salon owner Charles Penzone listen to Sen. Tavares explain why the hair salon manager’s license should be eliminated. Salon owners should be free to judge “the skills and talent of the individual and whether they have what it takes to be a supervisor,” she said.

Ohio is the only state to have a hair salon manager’s license. “This is the most ludicrous law ever passed in our industry,” said Penzone, who, with his wife, owns six upscale salons employing nearly 500 people in the Columbus area.

The Buckeye Institute identified 31 licenses that could be ended or made less burdensome to help low- and middle-income workers. To learn more on this issue, read our new report.

Click to read report.

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Should a hair stylist need a license to get promoted?

Don Yearwood, owner of the Carousel Beauty & Spa Institute in Dayton, wants to force hair stylists to get a license to manage a salon. His school sells the training.

Great hair. Bad policy.

The Dayton Daily News writes about the issue.

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The Buckeye Institute testifies for asset forfeiture reform

Greg Lawson testifies on asset forfeiture before the House Judiciary Committee. (John Murphy, executive director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, looks on from the right of the photo.)

Sometimes standing up for liberty is a lonely task.

The Buckeye Institute’s Statehouse Liaison Greg Lawson testified before the Ohio House Judiciary Committee today on why the state’s civil asset forfeiture law needs to be reformed. This is the Judiciary Committee’s third hearing on the reform proposal (H.B. 347).

Six prosecutors and a police chief testified against H.B. 347 before Greg spoke eloquently for reform.

Many police and prosecutors are concerned that restricting their power to seize assets in a civil procedure — without having to prove a person’s criminal guilt — will make their jobs harder to do.

“Repeal will only benefit criminals,” said Union County Prosecuting Attorney David W. Phillips to the committee.

He added: “The primary objection to civil forfeiture is that a criminal conviction is not necessary before property is forfeited. It is not always possible to obtain a conviction. This should not be an obstacle to forfeiture.”

Prosecutor David Phillips

In his testimony, Delaware City Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski says the current law is working fairly and effectively: “As of today, I have yet to hear of an egregious violation of the civil asset forfeiture law that occurred in Ohio.”

These are interesting points. Still, people on all sides of the issue seem to agree one thing: Ohio law needs to find the right balance between law enforcement’s authority to seize property and an individual’s right to protect it.

Greg described the right balance this way:

“We can all agree that criminals must not keep their ill-gotten gains, and it is the just and proper role of the state to seize those illegal proceeds. Unfortunately, the state too often uses civil asset forfeiture without providing basic due process and property protections that a free and civil society demands.”

As a free market think tank and a supporter of property rights, The Buckeye Institute believes the government should be limited on when property can be taken from a person who hasn’t been convicted of a crime and sometimes not even charged with one.

Greg testified: “Measures taken in House Bill 347 signal proper respect for due process and private property rights and will prevent further erosion of the foundational bedrock that helps support her free market system.”

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The Buckeye Institute’s Bill Batchelder testifies before U.S. Senate

Former Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder, now a fellow at The Buckeye Institute’s Economic Research Center, testifies to Congress today about the advantages of legislatures budgeting for two years at a time rather than just one.

Ohio has done biennial (two year) budgets since the early 1900s, and it’s helped the state avoid fiscal crises, says Batchelder, a Republican legislator for 38 years, the last four as House Speaker.

“Biennial budgets are not new, and they have withstood the test of time,” he says.

Why do they work? “Biennial budgeting offers stability and certainty, which is good for businesses and for planning,” explains Batchelder.

In addition, “Agencies that receive state spending can be more efficient because they know what their budget will be for two years. They can hear the train whistle before they get hit! They don’t have to waste resources every year on trying to get more money. Instead, they have more time to do their job in law enforcement, construction, or education.”

Batchelder is The Buckeye Institute’s inaugural Edwin Meese III Distinguished Fellow.

Ohio Senator Rob Portman is on the Senate Budget Committee that heard Batchelder’s testimony.

Read Batchelder’s full written testimony here.

Posted in Economy, Government, Local Government, Public Sector Reform, State Government, Taxes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Shale Boom Provides Great Opportunity for Ohio Families — If Taxes Kept Low

“I can honestly say that if it weren’t for the oil and natural gas industry, I wouldn’t be here…My concern is…How many families would miss out on these opportunities if people opposed to fracking are able to stifle an industry with so much promise?”

Madison Roscoe comes from a family that lived in a rural area and struggled just to make ends meet. But her father found a high-paying job with an oil and natural gas transportation company and was able to provide a better life for his family—including sending Madison to college. Madison is now following her dreams of studying political science at Ohio University.

Her story is evidence that the severance tax hike is bad policy. On October 22, a legislative committee issued a closely watched report on Ohio’s severance tax for “fracking.” The Governor has sought to increase the severance tax since oil and gas companies started drilling Ohio’s Utica shale in 2011.

Fracking companies balk at the proposal, citing troubles with low oil and gas prices; on the other hand, proponents of the tax increase claim “Big Oil” is robbing our state’s natural resources.

Unfortunately, stories like Madison’s are often left out of the severance tax debate.

The shale boom doesn’t just benefit oil and gas companies. It benefits thousands of Ohio families like Madison’s—from truckers in Appalachia to steel workers in Youngstown—who are better off today than they were five years ago.

In fact, the National Bureau of Economic Research estimates that every $1 million of oil and gas extracted produces $243,000 in wages, $117,000 in royalty payments to landowners, and 2 and a half jobs within shale regions.

Ohio’s tax policy should encourage this economic activity, not penalize it by increasing the severance tax.

The good news is that the legislative study committee recognizes that raising the tax right now, while oil and gas prices are at historic lows and fracking companies are barely scraping by, would be disastrous. The report recommends either phasing in an increase gradually or waiting until prices recover.

But raising the tax at all, whether gradually or in the future, is bad news. Hiking the severance tax will reduce drilling activity in Ohio, taking away opportunities for many more Ohio families to better their lives.

Plus, the report claims that much of the revenues from the higher tax would go to local governments affected by drilling, but in reality, local governments are already benefitting from drilling activity as well.

For example, county sales tax revenues in shale areas have skyrocketed. In September, oil and gas companies agreed to invest $8 million into Belmont County infrastructure projects.







The report itself explains that fracking companies must ask local governments for road use maintenance agreements (RUMAs), contracts that obligate these companies to maintain the roads. Over 60% of local government already have RUMAs with drillers. The best way to alleviate infrastructure stress on local governments is through mutually agreeable contracts such as these, not a broad and harmful severance tax hike.

The shale industry does indeed show great promise for all Ohioans. Our politicians should be careful not to spoil it with high taxes.

Posted in Economy, energy, Government, Local Government, Regulation, State Government, Taxes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Free Style: Lower Barriers to Cosmetology Jobs

Excessive licensure laws all but ban underprivileged Ohioans from certain job opportunities. For example, getting an Ohio cosmetology license requires 1,500 hours of training that can cost between $6,500 and $10,000. It is illegal to work braiding hair or painting nails without this license. With Ohio’s slower than needed job growth, it makes no sense to place such high barriers to entering simple jobs. HB 227 and SB 213 would moderately improve access to hair styling jobs, but would leave the highest barriers in place.

Both bills propose limiting the scope of cosmetology regulations, exempting the simplest beauty services from licensure. Complex services like cutting and dyeing hair would still require a license, but simple services like braiding hair or applying eyelash extensions would only require registration with the State. This makes sense, as braiding hair safely does not require 1,500 hours of training. Removing this licensure requirement removes a substantial and irrational burden on talented hair-braiders seeking employment.

Although these bills make limited progress in lowering barriers, they are far from sufficient.  It is unfortunate that neither one lowers the amount of training required. If fewer services require a cosmetology license, shouldn’t fewer hours of training be needed to get such a license?

Regardless of whether the pending bills become law, the 1,500-hour requirement should still be lowered. High license requirements drive up prices to consumers, but it is not clear that they improve safety or quality of service. New York and Massachusetts license cosmetologists with 500 fewer hours of training than Ohio, and neither state seems to be suffering from many hair-dye-related injuries.

HB 227 and SB 213 can be applauded for freeing some cosmetology services from unneeded regulation. Many licensed professions, such as auctioneering and athletic training, could likely benefit from similar common-sense reforms. With this success in mind, policymakers should set their sights on loosening more licensure requirements that limit Ohioans’ opportunities.

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