Arizona Court Rules Opioid Settlement Funding Is Legal

The opioid settlement funds headed to the Arizona corrections system are legal, according to a judge’s ruling on Monday.

The part of the budget that would divert $115 million in total to support the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry with what’s outlined as substance abuse treatment. Although the original legal action from Attorney General Kris Mayes resulted in a temporary restraining order for the funds to be transferred, this recent decision from the Maricopa County Superior Court scrapped that.

Gov. Katie Hobbs’ office, who negotiated the budget along with Republican legislative leadership for months, said the judge made the correct call.

“The Attorney General is flatly wrong on the law and mischaracterized the opioid funding in the bipartisan budget. Today’s ruling gets it right. Governor Hobbs is a social worker who secured a bipartisan agreement to treat victims of the opioid crisis and will continue to defend that funding,” a spokesman for Hobbs, Christian Slater, stated.

However, Mayes said she will keep tabs on how the money is used. That aspect of the budget raised concerns among both Republicans and Democrats, as it was one of many fund transfers used. The settlement has a memorandum of understanding that outlines what the funds can be used for, and the argument centered on the money could be used to help ADCRR. According to Capitol Media Services, further action can be sought from Mayes’ office is the money is not spent properly.

Still, the budget passed with a bipartisan vote, with votes for and against from both parties.

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