Notes from NYS Council Member Support & Public Policy Call
July 1, 2021
Rough Notes from NYS Council 7/1/2021 weekly member call:
Caveat: OASAS General Counsel Trisha Schell-Guy joined the NYS Council’s weekly Member Support and Public Policy call this morning to share information regarding the Opioid Settlement bill and subsequent chapter amendments. Please Note: Until the amended bill is released to the public, it’s hard to know if the version Trisha was referring to this morning was the absolute last version and so, this information could change slightly.
As of now: Governor signed the Opioid Settlement bill with an ‘Approval Memo’ that was largely supportive of the bill but that indicated an agreement had been made between the Governor’s Office and the leaders of the NYS Legislature as to certain changes that would be made to the bill after signing. The bill is currently with the Legislative Bill Drafting Unit charged with making the required language changes and should hit the streets shortly.
Amendments are being made as follows:
- Composition of Advisory Board changes to include making Commissioners from OASAS, OMH and DOH voting members and adds the Director of the Budget as a member of the Advisory Board
- Opioid Settlement agreement pertains only to funds from settlements after June 1, 2021 (so does not include McKinsey funds from previous settlement).
- Limits ability of state Attorney General to ‘direct’ settlement funds obtained through administrative actions brought by either the Department of Financial Services or by the Liquidation Board. Both entities can bring administrative actions against entities (including opioid distributors) and DFS wanted to preserve its’ ability to return settlement funds it obtains through these administrative actions to NYS policyholders as is ordinarily the case when DFS wins any type of settlement or administrative action.
Notes on the Advisory Board :
- 21 members of Advisory Board (up from original number of 16).
- Advisory Board will be led by a Chair and Vice-Chair, to be elected by members of the Board.
- Various state stakeholders have a certain number of appointments they can make to the Board. These entities include: Governor, Senate Leader, Assembly Leader, NYS Association of Counties, OASAS, OMH, DoH, DoB, etc.
- Board meets quarterly and must make its’ first set of recommendations regarding how to spend funds in the Lockbox at that time by 11/2021.
- Funds must be appropriated through the annual state budget process.
- Advisory Board members serve on the Board for a 3 year term and make recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature as to how the Board believes funds should be spent (within the parameters of the particular settlement in question).
- OASAS required to issue a report on how funds were spent and to create and maintain a publicly available dashboard housed on its’ website where citizens can track the spending.
More to follow.