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Cultivator — May 20, 2016

Seed Bill, CAFO Highlight 2016 Session

A ceremonial signing of the seed bill was held at the Alabama Capitol May 4. With Gov. Robert Bentley, from left, are David Farnsworth of the Alabama Farmers Federation; State Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn; Tallapoosa County Farmers Federation President Neal Kelly; Alabama Agribusiness Council Executive Director Leigha Cauthen; Graham Champion representing Monsanto; Patrick Moody of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI); Bucky Kennedy of Southern Crop Production Association; Matthew Durdin of the Federation; ADAI Commissioner John McMillan; and David Cole and Carla Hornady of the Federation.

Passage of bills establishing statewide seed standards and clarifying police jurisdictions, along with increased funding for Concentrated Animal Feed Operation (CAFO) permits, highlighted the 2016 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature.

Gov. Robert Bentley signed SB 58 into law, which affirms the authority of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries to regulate seeds. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, and the companion was carried by Rep. David Sessions, R-Grand Bay.

Legislation establishing consistent police jurisdictions of municipalities passed in the final hours of the legislative session. SB 218, sponsored by Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, establishes a three-mile police jurisdiction beyond corporate limits for municipalities with populations of 6,000 or more and one and one-half miles for towns with fewer residents. The bill builds on legislation passed last year, which limits the ability of local governments to tax and regulate property outside corporate limits.

Meanwhile, the legislature voted to override Bentley’s veto of the General Fund budget. It includes $400,000 to offset CAFO registration fees — a $120,000 increase from the current budget.

The $6.3 billion Education Trust Fund budget funds vocational education, rural health and agricultural programs. It includes a $116,000 increase for the Career Tech Initiative to $4.073 million. The Rural Health Program at the University of Alabama in Huntsville received an additional $175,000.

Despite lengthy debate, a bill to raise gasoline and diesel tax for county roads did not gain enough support for a vote.

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PDF: Cultivator — May 20, 2016

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