Governor Scott Walker is ordering a special session of the state Legislature and has issued new orders to state agencies, as part of ongoing efforts to fight a heroin and opioid epidemic in the state.
The governor said he plans to sign a series of executive orders Thursday, which implement a series of recommendations made by a special Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse. “This is a public health crisis, and that’s why I’m calling a special session of the Legislature and directing state agencies to ramp up the state’s response,” Walker said in a statement.
The orders include the special session call, which asks lawmakers to act on a long list of legislative proposals. The list includes legislation dealing with opioid treatment and diversion programs, some immunity from criminal prosecution for those receiving treatment for a drug overdose, and almost $2.1 million in state funding for different programs and law enforcement resources.
Walker is also directing the state Department of Health Services to apply for federal funding through the 21st Century CURES Act, which makes up to $7.6 million per year available to the state over the next two years. That money can be used for programs that are designed to respond to the opioid crisis.
The governor was touring the state Thursday to announce the action, with stops in Weston, Green Bay, and Chippewa Falls planned.