published Friday, February 25th, 2011

Dispute forces state Senate delay on meth bill

NASHVILLE—Senate disagreement Thursday over how best to combat illegal production of methamphetamine in Tennessee resulted in the forced delay of a proposed electronic tracking system.

Senators voted 18-12 to delay the measure, sponsored by Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, for a week.

The system is being promoted by pharmaceutical manufacturers and the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, who don't want to see cold medicine made with pseudoephedrine—one of the key ingredients in meth—turned into prescription-only drugs.

During debate, Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, a pharmacist, said the industry-backed tracking bill doesn't appear to solve Tennessee's meth problems.

"I feel at least in my area, law enforcement would like to see pseudoephedrine made a controlled substance. I would favor the approach that they take," McNally said.

As the debate continued, Beavers told colleagues "this is a serious bill. I don't think you need to question it."

She rejected requests to delay the measure, resulting in the vote forcing the delay.

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