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April 20, 2001   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
April 20, 2001

Farmers from throughout the state were in Montgomery Thursday meeting with state representatives encouraging them to vote in favor of HB 402, the Family Farm Preservation Act. Blount County Farmers Tim Whitley, left, and Dennis Maze, right, discuss the bill just outside the House chamber with Rep. Elwyn Thomas, R-Oneonta. The bill was approved 89-2 late Thursday afternoon.
"Montgomery, Ala." Farmers watching from the gallery of the House of Representatives chamber burst into applause when the Family Farm Preservation Act was approved overwhelmingly with an 89-2 vote late Thursday afternoon.

Representatives, led by Rep. Frank McDaniel, D-Albertville, who sponsored the bill, battled through filibusters during most of the debate Thursday afternoon, but managed to finally get the bill up for a vote shortly before the House adjourned.

Several amendments designed to weaken the legislation were offered by opponents of the bill during the debate. All of those amendments were defeated by large margins.

"When we go back looking at farming and see how important it has been down through the years and look at how that number is dwindling, we see how important it is to protect the farmer," McDaniel told fellow representatives. He also pointed out that one out of every five farms has gone out of business since 1980, and farmers can't take much more financial pressure.

The Family Farm Preservation Act would not allow farms to be declared a nuisance if they are obeying laws and regulations. It would also allow farmers to recover legal fees if they are sued and win in court.

The bill now heads to the Senate where Senate Pro-tem Lowell Barron will asign it to a committee for consideration.

A full list of votes by representatives will be published when it becomes available.

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