Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour urges W.Va. lawmakers to pass meth lab bill

Mississippi’s Legislature passed a similar law in 2010, prompting a 98 percent decline in meth labs and saving “countless lives,” Barbour said in a letter to West Virginia lawmakers last Friday.

“This bi-partisan bill may be the most significant drug enforcement legislation in the history of Mississippi,” Barbour wrote.

Barbour said the prescription requirement for cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, a key-meth making ingredient, didn’t spark complaints from Mississippi residents or jeopardize the re-election of Mississippi legislators who voted for the bill.

The law also did not drive up health-care costs as lobbyists opposing the legislation had warned, Barbour said.

“Naysayers predicted that Medicaid costs would skyrocket, and the public outcry would affect re-elections,” Barbour said in his letter. “I am happy to say that simply did not happen.”

Barbour served as Mississippi’s governor from 2004 to 2012.

From 1993 to 1997, he headed the Republican National Committee. During his tenure, the GOP captured both houses of Congress. Republicans took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.

Earlier this month, the West Virginia Senate passed an anti-meth lab bill that would require people to get a prescription for pseudoephedrine products, such as Sudafed and Claritin-D.

The legislation now sits in the House Judiciary Committee. House members have expressed misgivings about the bill. Drug industry representatives have lobbied lawmakers to kill the bill.

Sunday Gazette
3/3/14