By a 60-34 vote today, the state House passed Republican Rep. Jack Ladyman’s bill to give control of fluoride levels in water to local water distribution systems.

The arguments were familiar: Local control is always best (except for gay people and guns); fluoride is dangerous. Or, alternately, fluoride has been a proven boon to better teeth.


A mishmash of laws is OK on tooth decay, but not on civil rights protections.

Move along. Not much enlightening to be seen here in the land of cotton, where Robert E. Lee is not soon forgotten.


There’s always the Senate, where the bill goes next.

In other medical matters, the House completed action on a bill to prevent a doctor from using telemedicine so that a woman might take a pill that induces a miscarriage in the first nine weeks of pregnancy. Such chemical abortions are not performed by webcam now in Arkansas, but the legislature wants to be sure they can’t be. It will be moving in this session to expand other sorts of telemedicine, however, recognizing the difficulty of putting people in rural areas with doctors.


Returning to a more modern view of science, the legislature did complete action on a bill requiring every high school to teach a computer science class, a campaign aim of Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The governor said in a statement:

By passing this bill, Arkansas will become a national leader in computer-science education, and we’ll be preparing a workforce that’s sure to attract businesses and jobs to our state.