Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ohio Edition

May 13, 2015
Maurice A . Thompson (614)340-9817

Media Advisory
Press Conference to Discuss Formal Opposition to Proposed Easing of Ohio's Term Limits on State Legislators

Columbus, OH - On May 14, the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission will be finalizing its treatment of whether Ohioans should lift or ease current term limits on state legislators. This may include a vote, by the full commission, to propose lifting or easing those limits.

U.S. Term Limits, the organization that led the effort to enact the current limits in 1992, is forming a ballot issue committee to oppose the easing of these limits, and committing significant resources to this cause. Meanwhile, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law maintains that these limits should, if altered at all, be tightened rather than loosened.

At a press conference tomorrow, Term Limits proponents will discuss their opposition to the current proposal, underlying reasons for this opposition, and the path forward for term limits in Ohio, including prospective ballot issues:

WHEN: THURSDAY, May 14, 2015, 1-2 pm
WHERE: George Washington Williams Room, Ohio Statehouse

Philip Blumel, President, U.S. Term Limits
Maurice Thompson, Executive Director, 1851 Center for Constitutional Law
Ray Warrick, Chairman, Warren County Republican Party
Current and former state representatives, including John Adams, Ron Hood, Tom Brinkman, and Matt Lynch

The 1992 Constitutional Amendments limited state senators to two successive terms of four years, state representatives to four successive terms of two years, and the state auditor, treasurer, attorney general, secretary of state, and Lt. Governor to two successive terms of four years. (Section 2, Article II and Section 2, Article III, respectively).

Read 1851 Center Director Maurice Thompson's Columbus Dispatch Editorial on term limits HERE.
Ohio Employer's Law Blog | Daily Update
In This Issue...
HIPAA. Five letters that strike fear into the heart of anyone that handles employee medical information. That is, anyone except an NLRB judge passing judgment on whether an employer was justified in firing a union-supporting employee for clear HIPAA violations.
In Rocky Mountain Eye Center [pdf], and NLRB administrative law judge was faced with the issue of whether the NLRA protects an employee of a medical practice, Britta Brown, who accessed co-worker medical information in her employer’s Centricity database for the purpose of gathering contact info for a union-organizing campaign. The judge concluded that the employee’s HIPAA violation did not strip her of the Act’s protection.
I find the Respondent’s comingling of employee and patient data in Centricity, along with its training instructions to employees and its practices, detailed above, preclude any legitimate defense that Brown’s accessing the system to obtain employee phone numbers warranted discipline as a HIPAA violation. While the Respondent's general concerns about HIPAA compliance are unquestionably legitimate, the circumstances here lead me to conclude they were seized upon to stop Brown’s union activity.
In other words, because the employer: 1) permitted the co-mingling of non-protected employee contact information with protected patient medical information, regardless of whether the employee was also a patient, and 2) trained (or, at least, acquiesced in) employees using Centricity to access each others’ contact info for work-related reasons, such as scheduling and social events, the employer could not discipline an employee who used the same tools to access the same information for a union-organizing campaign.
HIPAA isn’t the only law that mandates the confidentiality of medical information.
The ADA provides that information obtained by an employer regarding the medical condition or history of an applicant or employee must be collected on separate forms, kept in separate medical files, and be treated as a “confidential medical record.”
If an employer has genetic information obtained under one of GINA’s limited exceptions, it must also keep this information separate from personnel files and treat it as a confidential medical record.
If you are a medical practice and your employees are also your patients, HIPAA adds a deep layer of complexity to these confidentiality issues. The judge’s decision in Rocky Mountain Eye Center notwithstanding, take these confidentiality requirements seriously, and train your employees on the proper handling of, and access to, confidential medical information. Otherwise, instead of an unfair labor practice charge, you might be facing a lawsuit from an employee relating to a breach of confidentiality.
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Buckeye Institute News Alert

Ohio by the Numbers - March 2015

Labor Force Continues to Decelerate, Private Sector loses 500 Jobs

The latest Ohio by the Numbers report (now available on The Buckeye Institute's website) shows that Ohio's labor market is sluggish. The labor force grew by 19,400 people during January, then 5,800 in February, followed by 2,400 in March. Overall, the Ohio labor force has grown by 27,700 since the start of 2015 and is up 34,700 from last March.

Total employment in Ohio grew by 1,500 jobs in March, but unfortunately, the private sector actually shed 500 jobs. Most of the total increase was due to local governments adding 1,600 employees during the month. The mining and logging sector declined by 3.2% in March, possibly showing the impact of low oil and gas prices on shale drilling.

Despite the fall in private sector employment, Ohio again moved up one place in the national rankings for private sector job growth since 2010 to 23rd-highest growth.

Ohio's unemployment rate stayed constant at 5.1% for the third month in a row. The labor force participation rate remained at 63.1%, up 0.2% since the end of 2014. The labor force participation rate has now grown higher than it was a year earlier.

Worker freedom states continue to outperform forced union states like Ohio, growing at a rate of 7.9% to forced union states' 6.3%.

Highlights from the report include:

  • Ohio lost 500 private sector and gained 2,000 total government jobs in February;
  • Ohio's unemployment rate held constant at 5.1%;
  • Ohio jumped to 23rd nationally in private sector job growth since January 2010, increasing 9.7% (8th-ranked Michigan increased 14.3%);
  • Ohio currently ranks 47th nationally for private sector job growth since January of 1990, increasing only 12.2% (top-ranked Utah grew 103.8% during the same time span).

Founded in 1989, The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions is an independent research and educational institution -- a think tank -- whose mission is to advance free-market public policy.

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