Bill to Better Fight ZIKA Passes Committee

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A bill authored by Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King designed to help combat the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses such as the Zika virus has passed a committee test.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved King's bill on Wednesday. King, an independent, says his bill would give states and communities more tools to control mosquitoes.

The bill is called the Strengthening Mosquito Abatement for Safety and Health, or SMASH, Act. It would authorize increased support for state and local mosquito control work, and reauthorize laboratory grants that support health departments in surveillance for infectious diseases.

The bill now moves on to the full Senate. Florida Sens. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican, and North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr are co-sponsors of the bill.

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