Finance committee OKs opioid bills


March 28, 2017

MADISON The Legislature's finance committee has approved more than half-a-dozen bills designed to curb opioid addiction.

Republican Rep. John Nygren has written 11 bills based on recommendations from Gov. Scott Walker's opioid task force. Walker called a special legislative session in January to pass the bills. The finance committee approved seven of the proposals Monday. The votes clear the way for the full Assembly and Senate to take up the bills.

The measures include $4.8 million to expand treatment programs; $50,000 to start a school for high school students recovering from addiction; $126,000 to train more doctors in addiction treatment; $1 million annually to establish new regional opioid treatment programs; $1 million to establish an addiction consultation program for doctors; $420,000 annually for four new state drug agents; and $400,000 to train school staff on screening students for addiction.

Finance committee rejects stewardship purchase proposal

MADISON Legislators have blocked a $346,000 grant to a conservancy group to help buy 100 acres in Dane County.

The Department of Natural Resources wanted to give the money to the Natural Heritage Land Trust to help it purchase the land for $685,000 from Richard and Arlene Nelson's estate. The DNR and the town of Dunn currently hold a conservation easement on the property that prevents development. An NHLT appraisal valued the land at $574,000. The DNR appraised the land at $685,000.

The Legislature's finance committee voted 12-4 Monday to deny the grant. Committee Republicans said $685,000 is too much and questioned why the DNR's appraisal was higher than the NHLT's evaluation.

DNR spokesman Jim Dick says an appraisal reviewer felt the higher number better reflected the land's fair market value.


Associated Press