Arkansas creates COVID-19 fund as 2 more die from virus

Arkansas
Arkansas Senate President Jim Hendren wipes down the lectern in the Senate chamber at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Arkansas on Friday, March 27, 2020. Lawmakers approved creating a $173 million rainy day fund to combat coronavirus and to prevent some agencies' budgets from being cut due to a shortfall projected because of the shortfall. (AP Photo/Andrew DeMillo)

By ANDREW DeMILLO

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a measure creating a $173 million fund to combat the coronavirus and to address a budget shortfall the state faces because of the outbreak. Hutchinson signed the legislation early Saturday moving the state’s surplus into the newly created “COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund.” The governor can access the fund with the approval of legislative leaders. Hutchinson signed the legislation shortly after the House and Senate approved it in a midnight meeting. Hutchinson on Saturday afternoon announced the number of coronavirus cases had increased to at least 404, with two additional deaths.