Ark. Gov. Signs $575M Highway Bill, Other Measures into Law

March 29, 2007

Arkansans will be able to vote on a proposal to issue $575 million in bonds for highway improvements and authorities will be able to track purchases of a key ingredient in methamphetamine under measures signed into law March 27 by Gov. Mike Beebe.

The highway improvement proposal that will be on the November 2008 ballot would give the state Highway Commission bonding authority through Dec. 31, 2013, if supported by voters. The December 2013 time limit won the endorsement of the Arkansas Trucking Association, which opposed an unsuccessful 2005 measure allowing perpetually authorized debt.

Another bill signed into law by Beebe would create a $50 million “quick-action closing fund” that the state could use to attract new businesses to the state and help existing businesses expand. The money hasn’t been appropriated yet.

The measure creating an electronic database to track purchases of pseudoephedrine, an ingredient used in making methamphetamine, was part of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s legislative package.

McDaniel said the database, expected to be operational by 2008, would enhance legislation backed by Beebe as attorney general that requires cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine to be sold only from behind pharmacy counters.

“We know that methamphetamine destroys families in Arkansas. We know that methamphetamine is a scourge on our society and (Beebe) put our state at the forefront in addressing this issue,” McDaniel said.

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