Texas AG Wants Local Governments To Sign Onto $26 Billion Opioid Settlement

This week in Texas politics with the Texas Tribune

By Alexandra HartOctober 1, 2021 3:05 pm, , ,

It’s time for the week that was in Texas politics with James Barragán, political reporter for The Texas Tribune.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is calling on local governments in the state to sign on to a $26 billion legal settlement over the opioid epidemic. Texas could see $1.5 billion of that money if enough cities join in, with those funds used for the response to the opioid crisis.

The challenge, Barragán says, is getting enough cities to sign on. Because once they do, they can’t pursue other litigation against the companies involved in the settlement.

“The tricky thing is that Texas has to get a certain amount of its cities and counties to sign on to the agreement before any of the money gets okayed to be released,” Barragán said. “So the challenge for Texas is that some of the major counties in the state like Dallas County , Bexar County, are already closer to their trial date with some of these distributors and drug manufacturers.”

Getting those larger cities to join the settlement is key, because how much money the state gets is contingent on how many local governments opt in.

“It’s a tough call for them to say, Hey, just take the money that we have on hand, which is a total of one point five billion dollars spread across all the cities and counties when a county like Dallas, for example, has calculated that it’s going to cost them $10 billion over 30 years to tackle the epidemic.”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.

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