QUORUM CALL

Despite a contentious debate on several Dem amendments, the state Assembly today signed off on nine special session bills on opioid abuse.

Dems sought to amend some of the bills to ensure the state accepts the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, but Republicans said those amendments were brought to them at the last minute and charged them with fundraising off the debate as it was going on.

Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, said Republicans accepted several Dem amendments that they got ahead of time. He said he’s worked hard to talk to get Dem input on the bills he wrote, and any suggestion that he hasn’t is “plain and simple wrong.”

But Dems said they should be able to bring proposals to the floor and debate them, with Rep. Sondy Pope, D-Mt. Horeb, saying the minority party isn’t supposed to “go home quietly.”

“This is the way government should work,” she said.

The bills largely passed on a voice vote or unanimously, but Nygren said lawmakers’ previous bipartisan cooperation on the issue was “dealt a serious blow” when Assembly Dems sent a fundraising appeal off today’s debate on the Medicaid expansion.

“We’ll move past the politics and the political mistakes of today and hopefully work on this issue moving forward together,” he said.

In all, there are 11 special session bills on the issue. The Assembly passed nine of them today, including:

*Special Session AB 4, which ensures drugs with codeine can’t be dispensed without a prescription.
*Special Session Assembly Bill 6, which lets the UW System set up a recovery charter school
*Special Session Assembly Bill 8, which expands DHS treatment programs for underserved areas
*Special Session AB 10, which adds four new criminal investigation agents at DOJ that focus on drug trafficking.
*and Special Session Assembly Bill 7, which expands graduate medical training for those specializing in addictions

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