Ducey Proposes Opioid Legislation, Education Funding Boost in State of the State Address

Jan 8, 2018

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey wants the Legislature to fast-track a proposal to address the opioid epidemic in the state.

 

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey delivers his State of the State address at the State Capitol Mon, Jan. 8.
Credit Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic

The governor said during Monday's state of the state address that he plans to call the Legislature into a special session this month to push through his proposal.

The legislation he wants hasn't been released but it is expected to include a limit on the first fill of narcotic drugs from doctors and dentists and adds tools for prosecutors targeting doctors, manufacturers and illicit drug dealers.

The governor called an opioid emergency in June and the state Health Services Department put in place real-time overdose reporting rules. Between June 15 and Dec. 28, 2017, the department tracked more than 4,900 suspected overdoses and 716 suspected deaths.

In addition, Ducey says he wants to restore some of the cuts to education that were put in place nearly a decade ago during the Great Recession.

The governor said he wants to restore cuts to one section of the cash flowing to schools known as "formula funding." That money is based on the number of students and a variety of other factors.

The Republican is under pressure from education advocates in a year he is seeking re-election to restore the cash. He didn't say how much money he'll ask for when his budget proposal is released later this week.

Restoring all the cuts likely couldn't happen in just one year given Ducey's vow not to raise taxes, but the goal is to accelerate investment in public K-12 schools. Some of the money will come from cash freed up by his agency directors during a review of spending he ordered last year.