The Latest: Governor signs bill to fight opioid epidemic
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Latest on preparations for a special session of the Minnesota Legislature and other Capitol developments (all times local):
Gov. Tim Walz has signed a bipartisan bill aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic in Minnesota.
Walz says the compromise bill “will help more families access the treatment they need and prevent addiction in the first place.”
The bill imposes sharply higher registration fees on drugmakers and distributors to raise around $21 million annually. Part of the money would go for grants to fund prevention strategies to reduce opioid deaths and overdoses.
Much of the rest would go to counties to help reimburse them for their growing child protection costs resulting from families being hurt by the opioid crisis.
Under the compromise, the registration fees would end once the state recovers at least $250 million from settlements with drugmakers after a minimum of five years. House negotiators wanted those fees to be permanent, while Senate conferees insisted on the sunset. Settlement revenues would go to response efforts
Gov. Tim Walz has signed into law a major package of protections for Minnesota seniors and vulnerable adults.
The most important component is a framework for licensing assisted-living facilities. Minnesota was the last state without licensing requirements.
The bipartisan bill also has other safeguards to protect older and vulnerable adults, including the right for assisted-living residents and their families to install hidden monitoring cameras. It also includes a bill of rights for assisted-living residents and other stronger consumer protections.
The Democratic governor said Wednesday that the law creates long-overdue protections to help ensure that all residents of assisted-living facilities are cared for and safe.
Republican Sen. Karin Housley, who worked on the legislation for over two years, says it gives elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans the consumer protections they deserve.
Deals are starting to come together as Gov. Tim Walz and top legislative leaders prepare for a special session to finish work on the state’s next two-year budget.
Walz’s office said Wednesday the Democratic governor, GOP Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman have resolved the remaining differences that were holding up a tax bill, and bills to fund E-12 education, public safety and environmental programs.
Highlights include more state aid for cities, counties and public school districts.
The leaders agreed earlier this week on funding bills for higher education and agriculture.
The sides still have not yet announced a date or duration for the special session. The leaders expressed hope earlier for a one- or two-day special session late this week.