State Capitol Report

Governor Walz, Attorney General Ellison highlight $300 million to fight opioid epidemic

Governor Tim Walz held a ceremonial bill signing last Wednesday with Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, Attorney General Keith Ellison, legislators, and advocates for a bipartisan $300 million opioid response bill. The funding, the result of a multistate lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies, will be used by communities across the state for opioid education, treatment, prevention, and recovery.

“The opioid epidemic and the pharmaceutical companies that caused it have caused unimaginable pain for families throughout Minnesota,” said Governor Walz. “Opioid addiction takes hundreds of Minnesotans’ lives each year – this bill is a significant step toward holding these companies accountable while providing Minnesotans with resources for recovery. But there is more work to be done.”

“While the damage caused by the opioid crisis cannot be undone, especially in Native and Black communities, this is a step in the right direction to help us move forward as a state,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “To all those living with and suffering from this disease: You are not alone on this journey. We support you, and we’re not stopping here.”

'There is no amount of money that can ever make up for the death and destruction that the opioids companies caused in our state. All the money in the world would not bring back even one of the 5,500 lives in Minnesota that have been lost to this humanmade epidemic,” said Attorney General Ellison.

' Nonetheless, it’s been my top priority to hold the opioid companies accountable for the pain they’ve wrought, and my office has now won six settlements with eight opioid companies,” Ellison continued. “This new law means that the money is going where the pain is. Communities in every corner of Minnesota will have more than $300 million for the next 18 years for recovery, prevention, and resilience, so this epidemic can never happen again .'

In February 2022, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced a multistate $26 billion agreement with major opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, and the three major pharmaceutical distributors: Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen. Minnesota’s share of this agreement is $300 million over the next 18 years. Each state’s share of the takes into consideration the impact of the crisis on the state – the number of overdose deaths, the number of residents with substance use disorder, and the number of opioids prescribed – and the population of the state.

May unemployment reaches another record low

Last week, Governor Tim Walz reacted to the news that Minnesota’s unemployment rates broke another record in May with an unemployment rate of 2.0%, down two tenths from a historical low rate in April. Minnesota gained 6,600 jobs in May and saw an increase in labor force participation at 68.4%.

“Minnesota’s economy is strong, and Minnesotans are working hard. I am proud to break another record with these historically low unemployment rates,” said Governor Walz. “Minnesota is in a stable and secure position during this time of global uncertainty and high inflation rates across the country. We’ll continue working to provide financial relief for Minnesotans and ensure our economy remains strong.”

In addition to Minnesota’s low unemployment rate, the state has a historic surplus and has been in a strong economic position to make record investments toward continued economic growth and put money into the hands of Minnesotans. Minnesota Management and Budget released an economic forecast in February showing that Minnesota’s state budget surplus is projected to be a historic $9.25 billion for fiscal year 202223.

June 22, 2022