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House OKs bill to distribute opioid settlement funds, sends it to governor

(House Photography file photo)

The House passed a bill on Friday to distribute the $300 million Minnesota is expected to receive from the national opioid settlement, which collected $26 billion in fines resulting from a federal lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

The state signed on to that federal lawsuit in July 2021. It required states to reach an agreement on how local governments distribute the funds, and, under the bill, Minnesota counties and cities are to receive 75% of the settlement funds, and the state is to get 25%.

Sponsored by Rep. Liz Olson (DFL-Duluth) and Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center), HF4625/SF4025* passed 119-8. The Senate approved the bill 66-0 Thursday. It now goes to Gov. Tim Walz.

Olson said the bill would make it possible to distribute the funds as quickly as possible.

“Tragic deaths as a result of opioid overdoses continue to be a crisis in our state, with the epidemic unfortunately getting worse,” Olson said in a statement. “This legislation will enable cities, counties, tribal governments, and the state to use funding from this historic settlement effectively and efficiently to continue combating the crisis as quickly as dollars come in.”

The money would be distributed through grants by the Department of Human Services for opioid education, programs to prevent opioid addiction, and opioid treatment and recovery services across the state as specified by the Opiate Epidemic Response Advisory Council.

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