ONALASKA – Governor Scott Walker signed four special session bills into law today that are part of the Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education (H.O.P.E.) agenda passed by the Wisconsin legislature during a special session. The bills relate to law enforcement measures to combat opioid abuse in Wisconsin.
“My thanks to the legislative leaders and members of the Task Force on Opioid Abuse for their work on this legislation, and, of course, the law enforcement officers here today and all throughout Wisconsin who work to end opioid abuse and overdose in our state,” Governor Walker said. “In January, I called the State Legislature into a special session to take up bills that address the opioid epidemic and I’m proud to say they passed the 11 bills I’m signing into law today with broad support, creating a multifaceted response to help people receive treatment and recover from addiction. Together, we are working to combat this crisis, save lives, and improve public health.”
Special Session Assembly Bill 2 – increases funding for the Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) grant program by $2 million annually. It also provides an additional $150,000 each year of the biennium for an expansion of the TAD program and allocates $261,000 annually to create a pilot program for expanded diversion efforts. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 32-0. It is Act 32.
Special Session Assembly Bill 3 – expands Wisconsin’s “Good Samaritan Law,” which was signed into law in 2014. Current law grants limited immunity to an individual who calls 911 to help a person experiencing an overdose. This legislation extends limited immunity to a person experiencing an overdose. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), the bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 32-1. It is Act 33.
Special Session Assembly Bill 5 – allows people with a drug dependency to be committed under the process for those with alcohol dependency. Under current law, individuals with an alcohol dependency can be more easily involuntarily committed to the county for treatment if approved by a circuit court. This bill adds drug dependency as a criterion to commit people under the alcoholism statute. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate on a voice vote. It is Act 34.
Special Session Assembly Bill 10 – allocates four additional positions to be used for drug trafficking, thus improving the ability of the Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation to conduct drug enforcement operations. The bill also increases funding in the appropriation for law enforcement services general program operations by $420,000 every year of the 2017-19 biennium. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 33-0. It is Act 35.
Governor Walker is signing a total of 11 bills into law today, all of which were recommended by the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse. The Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse was created in September 2016 for the purposes of advising and assisting the Governor in a coordinated effort to combat the opioid crisis facing the State of Wisconsin.