Bill Filed to Split Up DHHS

JANUARY 25, 2007 - Posted at 4:40 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - A state senator filed a proposal today to split up the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services, two years after it was formed by merging two separate agencies.

Senator Tracy Steele, a Democrat from North Little Rock, filed a bill to authorize Governor Beebe to form the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services.

Beebe has said he is considering several options to address problems at the agency, including restoring it to two separate departments. The new agency was formed by a merger in 2005 after former Governor Huckabee said it would make for a more efficient department.

Beebe said last week it was unlikely that he would make a decision on the agency during this year's legislative session. Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said today that the governor has not had a chance to review Steele's proposal.

Steele's proposal would give the state 60 days to create the separate departments if Beebe decided to split up the agency.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)