March 5, 2021 | Regular Session
Alabama Farmers Federation State Legislative Programs Director Casey Rogers wraps up week four of the legislative session with news from the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee as well as updates on legislation impacting landowners near growing cities and a plan to expand broadband access.
Members Urged To Support Police Jurisdiction Bill
Alabama Farmers Federation members are encouraged to contact their state representatives in support of SB 107 by Sen. Chris Elliott, R-Fairhope.

The measure passed the Senate last month and cleared the House County and Municipal Government Committee this week. It would limit enforcement of regulations and planning ordinances to 1.5 miles beyond city limits. Currently, municipalities frequently enforce regulations up to 5 miles beyond city limits. This can make farmers and rural landowners subject to rules enacted by city councils where they have no vote.
House Agriculture Committee Approves Bills
Three bills of interest to Alabama Farmers Federation members passed the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee Thursday. 

SB 173 by Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Sheffield, would require agricultural liming material sold in Alabama to be labeled with information indicating its effectiveness in adjusting soil pH. Currently, lime labels must include “minimum calcium carbonate equivalent (CCE).” Stutts’ Agricultural Lime Bill also would require the label to include the product’s “relative neutralizing value” based on a calculation of the CCE and particle size. 

HB 460 by Rep. Wes Allen, R-Troy, would allow forest product haulers to purchase restricted (L) tags for trucks over 42,000 pounds and lift the limit of four (F-4) tags for farm trucks up to 80,001 pounds. Currently, Alabama log trucks are required to have a commercial tag and comply with the International Registration Plan (IRP) when traveling out of state. Forest product haulers in surrounding states are allowed to use restricted tags, which are exempt from the IRP. Allen’s bill would correct this competitive disadvantage. It also would benefit farmers who own more than four large trucks.

HB 458 by Rep. Danny Crawford, R-Athens, would allow the sale of licenses for hunting feral swine and coyotes at night. The license and issuance fees would total $15 for Alabama residents and $51 for out-of-state hunters. If approved, the measure could impact management decisions by changing the perception of feral swine and coyotes from nuisance animals to recreational game. 
Senate Passes Broadband Expansion Bill
The Alabama Senate this week passed legislation to create the Alabama Digital Expansion Authority and Connect Alabama program. 

SB 215 by Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, passed Wednesday by a 32-0 vote. The legislation aims to develop and execute a Statewide Connectivity Plan. Alabama Farmers Federation State Legislative Programs Director Casey Rogers has been nominated to serve on the Connect Alabama Advisory Board. 

If passed, the Alabama Digital Expansion Authority could help Alabama garner federal funds for infrastructure improvement. The bill also would create a mechanism to distribute state funds earmarked for broadband access.
House Committee Advances General Fund Budget
Agriculture and forestry fared well in a budget approved this week by the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.

Funding was preserved for Alabama Farmers Federation priorities including the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations program and the state’s portion of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program and Feral Swine Program.

Allocations for the Alabama Forestry Commission were up $2 million, including $1.5 million for forest fire vehicles and equipment. Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries funding included an additional $50,000 for the Sweet Grown Alabama program, for a total of $300,000. Funding for the Farmers Market Authority also was up $105,000 to $225,000, while the Resources Conservation and Development (RC&D) program would receive almost $4.7 million, up $639,000. There is a new appropriation of $600,000 for applied research into emerging cellulose-based products. 
Your Voice Is More Important Than Ever

With COVID-19 precautions limiting access to the State House for the public and Alabama Farmers Federation External Affairs team, it's vital members develop and maintain strong relationships with legislators in the district. Contact the External Affairs team (below) if you have questions or need assistance contacting your senator or representative.

Capitol Connection | Alabama Farmers Federation | (334) 288-3900 |

 Matthew Durdin - Director, External Affairs Department
 Preston Roberts - Director, Agricultural Legislation
Casey Rogers, Director, State Legislative Programs
John Allen Nichols, Agriculture Counsel
Beth Chapman, Beth Chapman and Associates, LLC