The Senate this week passed legislation aimed at helping Soil and Water Conservation Districts compete for federal funds while the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee approved a companion bill.
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.
The bill passed the Senate Thursday by a 29-0 vote. Meanwhile, HB 488 by Rep. Danny Crawford, R-Athens, passed the House committee.
Supporters say the measure would help districts control damage from feral hogs. Currently, district Soil and Water Conservation Committees must purchase private liability insurance to cover 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.