Gov. Tony Evers' spending plan for opioid settlement hits obstacle in Wisconsin Legislature

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The Legislature’s Republican-controlled budget committee objected Wednesday to Gov. Tony Evers’ plans to spend $31 million Wisconsin is slated to receive in a multi-state settlement with drug manufacturers over their role in the opioid crisis.

The state Department of Health Services received its first $6 million payment on July 29. The rest of the money is expected to arrive by the end of the year.

The agency has proposed spending the money on Narcan, a drug that can reverse overdose effects, new treatment facilities, helping tribes address overdose deaths and enhancing data collection.

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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers celebrates during the Bucks victory parade on July 22, 2021. Evers' spending plan for opioid settlement was blocked by Republican lawmakers.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers celebrates during the Bucks victory parade on July 22, 2021. Evers’ spending plan for opioid settlement was blocked by Republican lawmakers.
(Photo by Mike E. Roemer/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the Joint Finance Committee blocked the plan on Wednesday. The committee’s co-chairpersons, Rep. Mark Born and Sen. Howard Marklein, said in a statement that they want to improve the plan. They didn’t elaborate.

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“The opportunity to invest millions into getting people treatment, support, and services does not come along every day,” Evers said. “For these legislators to turn their backs on the people of Wisconsin, especially given increases in substance misuse and the mental and behavioral health challenges our state is facing today in the wake of the (COVID-19) pandemic, it simply defies logic.”

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