TOPEKA – (May 5, 2021) – Legislation approved today establishes a process for administering funds recovered from opioid litigation and makes addiction treatment and prevention the priority use for recovered funds, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
The legislation contained in HB 2079 was proposed by the attorney general after extensive discussion with other affected parties, particularly cities and counties. Its key provision establishes a grant program to make recovered funds available to local governments and service providers and sets up a board to review applications and make grant decisions.
“I appreciate the Legislature taking these concrete and meaningful steps to establish the framework for helping Kansans recover from the epidemic of opioid addiction,” Schmidt said. “The measure that has been approved will ensure that funds we recover from defendants whose conduct contributed to the opioid epidemic will be used to assist local communities and to squarely address addiction and substance abuse.”
The measure passed the Senate 39-0 and the House of Representatives 78-42. It strikes a balance between the interests of local governments that hired their own outside legal counsel and now must pay them attorney fees and other local governments that did not.
To date, Attorney General Schmidt has obtained judgment ordering $4.8 million in recoveries for Kansas from opioid litigation. Settlement discussions with additional defendants are pending.