Gov. Baker On Stalled Opioid Legislation, Marijuana Legalization
The legislative session on Beacon Hill is approaching its end and lawmakers still have a few major bills to pass before they break for summer and shift their attention towards campaigning for re-election. The three branches have to come together and compromise on the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Amid a sexual assault scandal, a leadership struggle that rocked the Senate, and criminal justice overhaul legislation that has consumed much of lawmakers’ attention, some legislative priorities have fallen to the wayside. One of these priorities is the governor’s second major piece of opioid legislation, which has stalled since he first introduced the bill last fall.
WGBH’s Morning Edition Host Joe Mathieu spoke to Governor Baker in his office at the Statehouse about the legislation and how the introduction of recreational marijuana could factor into his plan to move forward with his campaign against opioids. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.
Joe Mathieu: Governor Charlie Baker joined us last year on WGBH’s Morning Edition for a special broadcast about combating the opioid epidemic. At the time, he had just filed legislation that would build on progress made under the state’s opioid law passed two years ago. The new bill includes proposals to expand access to treatments and education, create coaches for those in recovery and allow for involuntary treatment for those considered a danger to themselves. The bill has since been redrafted. It’s been through committee but there’s no clear timeline from here.
I sat down with the governor in his office on Friday and asked him if he was losing patience.
Governor Charlie Baker: Well, I can’t speak to what people outside this building are saying, because I’m paying more attention to what people who are affected by this disease are saying, and