The Republican leader of the Ohio House says he’s watching what happened this week with the last-minute settlement to stop the big opioid trial in federal court in Cleveland – and the billions of dollars involved in it.
Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) said he’s worried about what he calls a potential lost generation of kids with parents and other caregivers who have fallen victim to the opioid epidemic.
And he said he’s watching the dollar amounts and how they’ll be spent because he remembers Ohio using the 1998 tobacco settlement to fix schools and plug a budget hole, and then selling off $8 billion in future payments for a lump sum of $5 billion.
“I’m keeping a very close eye on this because I remember that very well. And yes, I think a lot of that money was piddled away, and it could have been much better use[d],” Householder said.
Householder said there’s $37 million in the current budget just for wraparound services for schools to help poor kids, many of whom are suffering because of the opioid crisis.
A bill that would give state lawmakers authority to spend nearly all settlement money was drafted but never introduced.