by Max Brantley
The anti-fluoride crowd is out in force to oppose a fluoridation bill in House committee today (it would require use of sufficient fluoride in water treatment to help prevent tooth decay).
Sens. David Johnson and Jason Rapert spoke for the bill, repeating the well-known science on the issue. Rapert gave effective testimony on seeing the deterioration of his children's teeth when he moved from Conway to an area served by a water system that didn't use fluoride. (But why would you even have to say, as Rapert did, that this is not a partisan issue? Unless you are inclined to look at things most often through such a prism.)
Rep. Tracy Pennartz of Fort Smith was unhappy that Texarkana, which gets its water from Texas, is exempted, but Fort Smith, which doesn't fluoridate and sells water outside Arkansas, is not.
An effort to amend Hot Springs out of the bill failed.
UPDATE: A couple of hours of debate ended with a do-pass for the bill on a voice vote.