At Issue: May 14 - Budget Negotiations Stall, Tackling the Opioid Crisis

May 14, 2017 06:19 PM

Budget Negotiations Stall with One Week Until End of Legislative Session

State lawmakers are down to eight days to balance a nearly $46 billion budget before the legislative deadline. Talks stalled late last week, meaning all parties need to make major progress quickly to avoid a special session or government shutdown.


Both the House and Senate adjourned until Monday while lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton head to St. Cloud for the Governor's Fishing Opener. Dayton vetoed a handful of budget bills late in the week, which came as no surprise to lawmakers. Both sides have expressed frustration at the slow pace of negotiations, while Dayton also voiced concerns about Republicans making what he calls unreasonable budget and policy demands.

Our At Issue analysts believe lawmakers will reconvene in a special session sometime in late May or June to resolve the budget issues. A new budget must be in place by July 1 to avoid a state government shutdown.

Addressing Minnesota's Opioid Epidemic: Two Lawmakers Share Personal Connection to Crisis

State Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, and State Sen. Chris Eaton, DFL-Brooklyn Center, share something in common -- they both lost a child to a heroin overdose. Both lawmakers say their children's path to an overdose started with prescription opioid medication. It is because of those tragedies that the two lawmakers have consistently joined forces to find ways to battle a growing opioid epidemic in Minnesota and the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an average of 91 people per day will die of an opioid overdose. Both Rep. Baker and Sen. Eaton have sponsored state legislation related to the opioid crisis. One of those laws, Steve's Law, was signed in 2015. It allows EMTs to carry a drug called Narcan which can reverse the effects of an overdose, and administer it at the scene. Steve's Law also protects people who call 911 to report an overdose from legal prosecution. 

Baker and Eaton say there is a lot of work that still needs to be done to combat the opioid crisis. One change they support is making it mandatory for doctors to use the prescription monitoring service, to see if patients have gone to different doctors to fill a prescription for opiates. 


Amanda Theisen

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