Legislation protecting county Soil and Water Conservation Districts from lawsuits earned final passage Tuesday and now goes to Gov. Kay Ivey for her signature.
SB 324 by Sen. Donnie Chesteen, R-Geneva, would extend the 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.
“I would like to thank Sen. Chesteen and Rep. Danny Crawford, R-Athens, for their sponsorship and support of this important legislation,” said Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee Chair Charles Holmes of Perry County. “Passage of this bill will allow local Soil and Water Conservation Districts to continue to support farmers and others by providing agricultural equipment for natural resource protection. We appreciate the support of the Alabama Association of Conservation Districts and other partners that helped make this happen.”
The legislation will help local Soil and Water Conservation Districts be more competitive with surrounding states in securing federal funds for feral hog control. Currently, district Soil and Water Conservation Committees must purchase private liability insurance to cover the rental of hog traps, grain drills and other equipment. The policies are expensive and difficult to get approved.
SB 324 passed the House of Representatives by a 102-0 vote.