Photo by Michelle Stocker, The Capital Times

The Joint Finance Committee unanimously backed a series of bills Monday designed to combat opioid addiction after shooting down several Dem amendments.

That included one from Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, that would have directed the state to accept the Medicaid expansion offered under the Affordable Care Act. Gov. Scott Walker rejected the expansion, which Hintz said left millions of dollars on the table that could have been used to provide treatment to those with substance abuse problems.

“You can say no, but then don’t say you’re doing everything you can to fight opioid abuse in the state because you’re not,” Hintz said.

The bills that cleared the committee include:

*Special Session AB 2, which would provide $4.3 million over 2017-19 to the Department of Justice to provide grants under the treatment and diversion program, which helps counties pay for alternative to incarceration programs for those who are abusing alcohol or drugs.

*SSAB 6, which would authorize the creation of a pilot project charter school for no more than 15 high school students in recovery. The state superintendent could provide up to $50,000 in a start-up grant.

*SSAB 7, which would provide the Department of Health Services $126,000 to expand an existing graduate medical training program to increase the number of physicians trained in addiction specialty.

*SSAB 8, which would add another two or three opioid treatment programs DHS must create in underserved and high-need, but not necessarily rural, areas. Current law requires two to three in rural and underserved, high-need areas. The bill also would add $1 million annually to the program.

*SSAB 9, which would require DHS to create an addiction medicine consultation program to aid clinicians in providing enhanced care to those with an addiction. It would provide $500,000 annually for the program.

*SSAB 10, which would authorize four new criminal investigation agents at the Department of Justice to focus on drug interdiction and trafficking.

*SSAB 11, which would require the Department of Public Instruction to provide training to aid in addressing mental health issues in schools.

See more on JFC action at the Budget Blog: https://www.wispolitics.com/category/subscribers-only/budget/

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