HB1355 Lacks Votes to Pass Senate Committee; Fluoridation Remains Intact for Now

by Billy Tarpley on March 4, 2015

Posted March 4, 2015: 2:02PM

STATE CAPITOL – House Bill 1355 by Rep. Jack Ladyman (R-Jonesboro), which would allow local control of the amount of fluoride in community water systems, failed to garner enough votes to pass the Senate Public Health Committee this morning. By a vote of 3-2, the bill failed because it did not receive the necessary 5 votes to pass. The committee is comprised of 8 senators, including the chairperson.

Although the committee approved a vote to limit debate to 2 minutes on each side, ASDA President Dr. Drew Toole presented excellent testimony on behalf of the dental association stating that ASDA is firmly opposed to the bill. “This is an anti-fluoridation bill disguised as a local control bill,” he said. Overturning the existing law regarding fluoridation is not a logical move considering that “dental caries is the number one most common disease among children.” He further added that “rampant caries in a child is especially tragic because most of it can be easily prevented through proper fluoridation.”

The testimony in favor of HB1355 was presented by water system pre-treatment coordinators who disagreed that the work required to comply with the law was not worth the result, adding that less than 5 percent of treated water is consumed. A handout prepared by ASDA stated that dentists see the benefits of fluoridation every day. As Dr. Toole commented, “dentists often know where a patient lives based on the condition of their teeth,” a reference to whether the patient lives in a fluoridated or non-fluoridated area.

Multiple groups, including Delta Dental of Arkansas and Arkansas Children’s Hospital, lobbied against HB1355. The rules of the Senate provide that the bill could be reconsidered at a later date, so ASDA will continue to monitor activity surrounding the bill and notify the membership as needed.

THANK YOU to the ASDA members who contacted their legislators to opposed HB1355!

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