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

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Signs outside the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark. include reminders about social distancing due to the coronavirus outbreak, Friday, March 27, 2020. The state Senate met at the Capitol to take up a plan to set up a $173 million rainy day fund to address a budget shortfall projected because of the outbreak. (AP Photo/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.

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