Arkansas House approves steel mill funding

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - A proposal to provide a company with $125 million in state financing to build a new steel mill in northeastern Arkansas has won approval in the state House.

By a 78-17 vote, lawmakers on Monday passed legislation authorizing Arkansas to issue bonds to provide a loan and pay some construction costs of a $1.1 billion steel facility in Osceola.

The Senate approved identical legislation by a 26-6 vote last week. House lawmakers will still have to pass - with a 75-vote supermajority - a separate bill to fund the proposal.

Gov. Mike Beebe and legislative leaders have endorsed the proposal, but some conservative lawmakers said they were concerned about investing state money in a new private venture. A competing steel mill in the area was also opposed to the project.

Amendment 82 gives state flexibility to seal super deal (Jan. 21)
Legislative consultant to take crack at Big River (Feb. 24)
Report urges caution on steel mill project (March 22)
Officials discuss $1.1B steel mill project (March 26)
Arkansas steel mill proposal gains traction (April 1)
Ark. Senate committee weighs steel mill proposal (April 2)
Ark. House committee OKs steel mill plan (April 3)
Arkansas House approves steel mill funding (April 8)
Arkansas Legislature approves steel mill funding (April 16)