Bills aimed at enhancing local conservation efforts by protecting Soil and Water Conservation District personnel from lawsuits were introduced this week.
HB 488 by Rep. Danny Crawford, R-Athens, and SB 324 by Sen. Donnie Chesteen, R-Geneva, would extend limited immunity from civil liability granted state soil and water personnel to district supervisors and employees who loan or rent equipment and supplies for conservation projects. The immunity would only relate to use of the equipment and supplies.
Supporters say the legislation will help local Soil and Water Conservation Districts be come competitive with surrounding states to secure federal funds for feral hog control.
Currently, district Soil and Water Conservation Committees are having to purchase private insurance to cover themselves for rental of hog traps, grain drills and other equipment. The policies are expensive and difficult to get approved, according to the Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee.
SB 324 passed the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee Thursday. HB 488 has been assigned to the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee, which Crawford chairs.