Special Session Bills Move Through Committees

The Joint Finance Committee acted this week on several special session bills as part of Wisconsin’s Heroin, Opiate, Prevention and Education (HOPE) Agenda. Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) introduced 11 special session bills in late February, and committee hearings took place in March. We anticipate the legislature will be on the floor the first week of April to take up the HOPE agenda bills.

In the executive session on March 27, JFC unanimously recommended for passage Special Session Bills 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. (See previous coverage for more information on each of the special session bills.) Legislators proposed various amendments throughout the session, including Rep. Gordon Hintz’s (D-Oshkosh) failed amendment that would have directed the state to accept the Medicaid expansion offered under the Affordable Care Act. The Committee did pass an amendment on Special Session Bill 11 and three amendments on Special Session Bill 6, including a technical amendment that clarifies that health plans would only be required to cover the treatment or services provided at a recovery school when the treatment or services are already covered by the plan.

Just before the JFC meeting, the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse also met for the first time in several months on March 24 at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. The Task Force, chaired by Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, heard information from medical professionals and others regarding opioid abuse in Wisconsin, specifically regarding prescription issues and sober housing for those in recovery.