April 2, 2021 | Regular Session
Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Rick Pate visits with Director of State Legislative Programs Casey Rogers about funding for the Farm-to-School program, Sweet Grown Alabama and more.

Farm, Forestry Tag Bill One Vote From Final Passage
The Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee unanimously approved a bill Thursday which would help level the playing field for farm and forest product haulers with neighboring states. 

HB 460 by Rep. Wes Allen, R-Troy, now awaits a final vote in the full Senate. The bill would lift limits on the purchase of F4 farm tags for larger trucks. It also would allow log trucks to purchase L tags and be exempt from the International Registration Plan. Currently, forest product haulers over 42,000 pounds must carry a commercial license plate. 
Bills To Allow Night Hunting of Feral Swine Advance
The Alabama Senate Thursday gave unanimous approval to a bill that would allow sales of licenses for night hunting of feral swine and coyotes. A House companion bill also cleared the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee.

SB 264 by Sen. Donnie Chesteen, R-Geneva, now heads to a House committee, while HB 458 by Rep. Danny Crawford, R-Athens, awaits a final vote by the full Senate. If the measure becomes law, Alabama residents could purchase a license for $15 while out-of-state hunters would be charged $51.
Alabama AgCast Features Rep. Reed Ingram
State Legislative Programs Director Casey Rogers and Agricultural Legislation Director Preston Roberts have a conversation with Rep. Reed Ingram, R-Montgomery, for the Federation's weekly AgCast. The episode also features an ag wrap-up by Alabama Peanut Producers Executive Director Jacob Davis. Alabama AgCast episodes debut each Wednesday with support from Alabama Ag Credit.
Special Elections Held For SD 14, HD 73
Former state representative and Trump Administration appointee April Weaver won the Republican primary Tuesday for State Senate District 14. The Republican primary for House District 73 ended in a runoff between Leigh Hulsey and Kenneth Paschal.

Weaver is vying for the seat previously held by Cam Ward, who recently was appointed director of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. Weaver, endorsed by FarmPAC, is expected to prevail in the Republican-leaning district which includes parts of Bibb, Chilton and Shelby counties. The general election for SD 14 is set for Tuesday, July 13. 

Hulsey and Paschal finished first and second, respectively, in a five-person field. They will face off Tuesday, April 27. HD 73, which includes portions of Shelby County, was previously represented by Matt Fridy, now a justice on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. Hulsey is president of the Helena City Council and owner of CrossFit Alabaster. Paschal is a retired U.S. Army veteran and member of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce. 
Senate Votes To Limit Governor’s Emergency Powers
The ability of Alabama’s governor to extend a state of emergency would be limited under a bill approved Thursday by the Senate. 

SB 97 by Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, would encourage the governor to consult legislators before declaring an emergency; reduce the duration of a state of emergency from 60 to 45 days; and require a joint resolution of the Legislature to extend states of emergency past 120 days. The measure also would require gubernatorial approval before state health orders would take effect. SB 97 now heads to a House of Representatives committee for consideration.
Uniform Concealed Carry Permit Act Passes Senate
Legislation approved Thursday by the Senate would create a standardized process for issuing concealed carry firearms permits and add a lifetime option for such permits. Currently, the concealed carry permitting process, fees and forms vary by county.

SB 308 by Sen. Randy Price, R-Opelika, also would require creation of a statewide database of individuals prohibited from carrying firearms. The Alabama Uniform Concealed Carry Permit Act would waive lifetime concealed permit fees for honorably discharged military veterans, law enforcement officers, or honorably retired law enforcement officers.
A Century of Service as the Voice of Alabama Agriculture
1937 The Alabama Farm Bureau supported Gov. Bibb Graves in his effort to obtain what would come to be known as a “homestead exemption” on property taxes. The legislation, which was at first widely unpopular, helped farmers secure ownership of their property by reducing the financial burden placed by a 6.5 mill ad valorem tax on their property.
Your Voice Is More Important Than Ever

With COVID-19 precautions limiting access to the State House for the public and Alabama Farmers Federation External Affairs team, it's vital members develop and maintain strong relationships with legislators in the district. Contact the External Affairs team (below) if you have questions or need assistance contacting your senator or representative.

Capitol Connection | Alabama Farmers Federation | (334) 288-3900 | Alfafarmers.org

Questions?
 Matthew Durdin - Director, External Affairs Department
 Preston Roberts - Director, Agricultural Legislation
Casey Rogers, Director, State Legislative Programs
John Allen Nichols, Agriculture Counsel
Beth Chapman, Beth Chapman and Associates, LLC