The Latest: Legislative negotiators agree on opioid bill
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Latest on the final day of the Minnesota Legislature’s 2019 regular session (all times local):
A House-Senate conference committee has reached a bipartisan agreement on compromise legislation aimed at stopping Minnesota’s opioid crisis.
The bill imposes sharply higher registration fees on drug makers 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 drug makers 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.
A major package of protections for Minnesota’s elderly has cleared the Legislature and awaits Gov. Tim Walz’s signature.
The House and Senate late Sunday night passed the final version of the bill, which was over two years in the making. The most important component is a framework for licensing assisted living facilities that contains expanded enforcement powers. Minnesota is the last remaining state that doesn’t require licensing them.
The 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 for two weeks before being required to notify the facilities.
It also includes a bill of rights for assisted-living residents and other stronger consumer protections, such as protections against retaliation for residents of care facilities.
Minnesota legislators are wrapping up their big budget bills as the midnight adjournment deadline approaches, with a special session planned for later this week so they can finish approving a two-year budget.
Gov. Tim Walz, Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman announced the framework of the budget deal Sunday night. It calls for a budget of around $48 billion, about a 6% increase from the current budget. They told their House-Senate conference committees to finish negotiating the details Monday.
The House and Senate on Sunday night also passed a package of elder care reforms. The bill creates a framework for licensing assisted living facilities and other safeguards to protect older and vulnerable adults, including the right of assisted-living residents to install monitoring cameras.