By Marlee Moore
As the Legislature’s Regular Session wrapped late Monday night, the Alabama Farmers Federation celebrated key victories impacting rural Alabamians. Highlights include the small farm winery bill; farm and forest products tag bill; and the police jurisdiction bill.
These wins were months — or years — in the making, said Federation External Affairs Department Director Matthew Durdin.
“In each of these cases, our farmers saw a problem, approached our team and showed us the importance of passing legislation,” Durdin said. “That’s the value of a grassroots organization.”
Small Farm Winery Bill
- Allows licensed small farm wineries to sell their products directly to retailers and consumers.
- SB 294 by Sen. Andrew Jones, R-Centre, defines a Small Farm Winery as one producing fewer than 50,000 gallons of wine a year from fruit that’s at least 50% Alabama-grown.
Farm and Forest Products Tag Bill
- Eases restrictions on the purchase of license tags for farm and forest-product trucks.
- HB 460 by Rep. Wes Allen, R-Troy, lifts limits on the purchase of F4 farm tags for larger trucks. It also allows log trucks to purchase L tags and be exempt from the International Registration Plan. This new law puts Alabama farmers and loggers on a level playing field with counterparts in neighboring states.
Police Jurisdiction Bill
- Limits enforcement of regulations and planning ordinances outside city limits.
- SB 107 by Sen. Chris Elliott, R-Fairhope, freezes cities’ police jurisdictions at current lines and limits planning jurisdictions to 1.5 miles beyond city limits. Formerly, municipalities could enforce regulations up to 5 miles beyond city limits, making farmers and rural landowners subject to rules enacted by city councils where they have no vote.