State legislators passed four Alabama Farmers Federation priority bills before the 2015 session ended June 4.
“We are thankful to have legislators who worked with us during this session to address issues important to our farmer members,” said Brian Hardin, director of the Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department.
Gov. Robert Bentley signed into law legislation related to F4 farm tags, the queen honeybee, catfish labeling and municipal annexations.
Sen. Clay Scofield, R-Arab, and Rep. Alan Boothe, R-Troy, sponsored the bill allowing farmers to purchase of up to four F4 farm tags. Rep. Jim Patterson, R-Meridianville, sponsored a bill making the queen honeybee the state’s agricultural insect.
Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, and Rep. A.J. McCampbell, D-Demopolis, sponsored legislation to strengthen catfish country-of-origin-labeling laws for restaurants. Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, and Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Sylacauga, sponsored a law clarifying municipal annexation procedures.
Alabama Farmers Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan thanked legislators, especially bill sponsors; Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn; and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, for their leadership and service to agriculture.
“Passage of these bills is proof of legislators working for their constituents,” Pinyan said. “These bills will help farming and farm families.”
On June 2, the governor signed the Education Trust Fund budget. It includes $5 million for Career Tech Operations and Maintenance, $3.9 million for the Career Tech Initiative, $350,000 for the Poultry Technology Center, $850,000 for the Office of State Climatologist and $2.4 million for the Family Practice Rural Health Board.
Bentley vetoed the Legislature’s General Fund (GF) budget proposal. The proposal would have removed funding to offset farmers’ permit fees for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. It also would have cut in half funding for the Alabama Water Enhancement Program.
The governor said he will call a special session this summer to address the GF budget.