Senate Bill 166
151st General Assembly (Present)
Becomes effective upon date of signature of the Governor or upon date specified
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE AND THE LAWS OF DELAWARE RELATING TO THE DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS FROM THE PRESCRIPTION OPIOID IMPACT FEE AND COURT SETTLEMENTS.
Delaware has been irreparably harmed by the opioid crisis. In 2018, 400 people died of an overdose in Delaware, and in 2019, 431 people died of an overdose. Settlements from opioid distributors, manufacturers, and pharmacies are expected to provide significant monies over a substantial period of time to Delaware. These funds are intended to address to harm caused by the opioid crisis in our communities. This Act establishes the Prescription Opioid Settlement Fund (Settlement Fund) and Prescription Opioid Distribution Commission (Commission), to ensure that settlement money is used to remediate and abate the opioid crisis and is not diverted to other purposes. The Commission is part of the Behavioral Health Consortium and is established to ensure that decisions on how to spend funds are reached through consensus driven process that takes into account the views and experience of affected communities. The Behavioral Health Consortium will distribute money received by the Settlement Fund and the Prescription Opioid Impact Fund (Impact Fund), enacted by Senate Bill No. 34 of the 150th General Assembly, according to the recommendations of the Commission. The Commission shall seek input from the public and relevant stakeholders and shall convene a Local Government Committee to ensure that recommendations from counties and municipal governments are carefully considered. The terms of settlement agreements, bankruptcy plans, or other agreements for the payment of monies by defendants in opioid-related litigation will likely include terms that establish how the money must be spent. The Commission is required to adhere to those terms. The Commission must produce an annual report regarding the receipt and disbursement of funds. This Act preserves the status quo of the existing parties to litigation while limiting the ability for new local government opioid suits to be brought, because new lawsuits could limit the size of Delaware’s recovery in global settlements that are expected to be reached. This Act repeals the sunset of the Prescription Opioid Impact Fee (Impact Fee) and Impact Fund It also repeals the report requirement for the Impact Fund because the information in that report will be included in the new report that the Commission must produce. This Act requires a greater than majority vote for passage because § 4 of Article VIII of the Delaware Constitution requires the affirmative vote of three-quarters of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly to appropriate funds to a county or municipality. This Act also requires a greater than majority vote for passage because § 1 of Article IX of the Delaware Constitution requires the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly to amend a charter issued to a municipal corporation.