- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A proposal that would allow Arkansas water providers to opt-out of supplying cavity-fighting fluoride has failed to advance out of a state Senate committee.

The Senate Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee on Wednesday voted 3-2 in favor of the proposal. The bill needed five votes to advance out of committee to the full Senate.

The bill by Republican Rep. Jack Ladyman of Jonesboro would allow local water providers to supply fluoride at any level below the state maximum. He said local communities should control what is in the water.

The state Department of Health and Arkansas Children’s Hospital oppose the bill. Opponents say the change will lead to more cavities and increased health care costs.

The bill passed the House on a 60-34 vote in February.

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