ARIZONA NEWS

AG Kris Mayes sues Arizona over plan to use $115 million in opioid settlement funds for budget deficit

Jun 20, 2024, 3:12 PM | Updated: 3:49 pm

Attorney General Kris Mayes sued Arizona on June 20, 2024, in an attempt to block the state from us...

Attorney General Kris Mayes sued Arizona on June 20, 2024, in an attempt to block the state from using $115 million in opioid settlement funds to remedy budget deficits.

PHOENIX — Attorney General Kris Mayes sued Arizona on Thursday in an attempt to block the state from using $115 million in opioid settlement funds to remedy budget deficits.

Mayes said the decision by the Arizona Legislature and Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs to use the funding for purposes not related to preventing opioid use was illegal. An emergency stay will be in place through July 5.

“In their rush to end the session, GOP leaders and the governor ignored other viable options to balance the budget, such as utilizing the rainy-day fund, which has now reached approximately $1.4 billion,” Mayes, a Democrat, said in a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“This is outrageous. Every Arizonan should ask why the opioid funds were not protected and used to support our communities and prevent opioid use as intended.”

What is Arizona trying to do with opioid settlement money?

The budget, passed by the Legislature over the weekend and signed by Hobbs on Tuesday, includes using $115 million in settlement dollars to shore up funding in the budget year that ends on July 1 and the following year for the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry.

Additionally, lawmakers want to shift another $40 million in each of the next two budget years toward the state’s prison system.

Christian Slater, communications director for Hobbs, disagreed with Mayes’ lawsuit.

“The Attorney General is flatly wrong,” Slater said in a statement. “Her characterization of these funds as ‘backfilling’ ADCRR would be more accurately described as funding vital opioid use disorder treatment for a population that is disproportionately impacted by the opioid epidemic.

“On her very own website, the Attorney General indicates the funds can be used for opioid treatment at ADCRR.”

Mayes said that decision violates settlement agreements and that she was “determined to stop it.”

The multistate settlement will provide Arizona and its communities with $1.1 billion over 18 years with funding beginning in 2022.

“This is too important, with too many lives at risk, to get wrong,” Mayes said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A Phoenix police officer hangs up yellow crime scene tape in a file photo. Two people were killed i...

KTAR.com

2 people are dead after unrelated early-morning collisions in Phoenix

Two people were killed in a pair of unrelated traffic incidents in Phoenix early Wednesday.

2 hours ago

Robert Yates of Tolleson is the subject of a Silver Alert issued July 18, 2024....

KTAR.com

Silver Alert issued after 67-year-old West Valley man goes missing

Authorities issued a Silver Alert on Thursday for a missing 67-year-old West Valley man with a cognitive condition.

3 hours ago

Crime tape and a police SUV are seen at the seen of a Phoenix apartment fire on July 15. Homicide a...

KTAR.com

3 bodies found after Phoenix apartment fire, prompting homicide, arson investigations

Three bodies were found in the aftermath of a Phoenix apartment fire Monday, prompting investigations for homicide and arson.

3 hours ago

Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona stands behind President Joe Biden on June 18, 2024. Kelly is getting men...

Kevin Stone

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly mentioned as option to replace President Joe Biden on ticket

Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona has entered the conversation about a potential replacement for President Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket.

4 hours ago

Rain started falling during the metro Phoenix morning commute on July 18, 2024. (Arizona Department...

KTAR.com

Rain falls in parts of metro Phoenix during morning commute

Light rain fell in parts of metro Phoenix during the morning commute on Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

5 hours ago

Stock image of a backyard pool. A 3-year-old child died July 17, 2024, after a drowning incident in...

KTAR.com

3-year-old child dead after being pulled from Chandler backyard pool

A 3-year-old child died Wednesday night after a drowning incident at a Chandler residence, authorities said.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

AG Kris Mayes sues Arizona over plan to use $115 million in opioid settlement funds for budget deficit