Arkansas lawmakers approve teacher insurance fixes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers have approved legislation aimed at averting health insurance rate increases of up to 50 percent that are otherwise set to hit thousands of teachers next year.

The House and Senate on Friday passed identical but separate bills that call for using $43 million in state surplus money this year. Those proposals will head to the opposite chambers for final votes.

The House on Friday also approved a series of long-term changes to the insurance program that supporters say are needed to keep it sustainable and avoid future efforts to boost funding.

Friday marked the second day of a special session called to address the teacher insurance premiums. Gov. Mike Beebe called the session after he was assured by legislative leaders there were enough votes to pass the measures.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.