MADISON -- Gov. Tony Evers today signed Assembly Bill 374 relating to the settlement of opioid litigation. A signing statement for Assembly Bill 374 is available here.
“I am signing Assembly Bill 374 because it will help bring much-needed funds to communities throughout Wisconsin to address the opioid pandemic through a settlement with opioid manufacturers and distributors. These funds will be used on opioid abatement and mitigation efforts and help ensure that the maximum amount of dollars available from a settlement make it to Wisconsin communities as soon as possible,” said Gov. Evers, whose signing statement also noted troubling provisions in the bill. “Despite these serious concerns, I am not willing to risk our ability to maximize the amount of settlement dollars available to Wisconsin by vetoing this bill in its entirety.”
Assembly Bill 374, now Wisconsin Act 57:
- Requires the attorney general to cooperate with local governments that are parties to the opiate litigation, National Prescription Opiate Litigation, Case No. MDL 2804 and any proceeding filed in state circuit court that contains allegations and seeks relief substantially similar to the allegations contained and relief sought in the federal lawsuit, to enter into a joint settlement agreement of the legal or equitable claims of the state and local governments, if a proposed settlement agreement is approved by the Joint Committee on Finance and contains certain provisions regarding the distribution of the settlement; and
- Specifies how money from the settlement agreement may be used and prohibits any political subdivision of the state, or an officer or agent of a political subdivision of the state, that was not a party to the opiate litigation as of June 1, 2021, from:
- Maintaining a claim to the proceeds of the settlement agreement.
- Maintaining or bringing a claim related to opioids against any defendant in the opiate litigation that would be released if the political subdivision, officer, or agent were a party to the joint settlement agreement.