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May 16, 2003   Email to Friend 

MORRISION GUIDES FARM ACT THROUGH HOUSE
Family Farm Preservation Act Passes House by a vote of 82-7.
Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
May 16, 2003

MONTGOMERY, Ala., -- A landslide vote of approval by the Alabama House of Representatives now sends the Family Farm Preservation Act, HB 420, to the Senate. The bill came up for a vote late Tuesday in the House where it was approved 82 to 7.

"The overwhelming vote by the House shows that our legislators understand the need for this legislation and the importance it has in preserving the right to farm in Alabama," said Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry Newby. "The farmers who testified before the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee made an impression on that committee that spilled over into the rest of the House. However, the phone calls and personal contacts by our members to their legislators also played a key role in the passage of the bill through the House. Now that it's passed the House, I hope our members will thank those who voted in favor of the bill and question those who did otherwise."

The bill passed with one amendment offered by Rep. Ron Johnson, R-Sylacauga, which exempted commercial composting operations.

Newby praised the work by Rep. Neal Morrison, D-Cullman, who sponsored the bill in the House.

"Rep. Morrison was a great spokesman for this bill," Newby said. "Coming from the largest agricultural county in the state, he knows first hand the importance of protecting farmers. He had to answer a lot of difficult questions and withstood criticism by some opponents who labeled this a 'hog bill.' But through it all, he remained steadfast in his commitment to farmers to see the bill get passed in the House."

The bill now heads to the Senate where consideration of legislation has been stagnant because of an ongoing feud among two groups - conservative Democrats and Republicans verses Democrats who control nearly every committee in the upper chamber. Sen. Zeb Little, D-Cullman, chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee, sponsored the Senate version of the bill (SB 346). He has agreed to move HB 420 through the Senate process and will work for its passage.

"We definitely have a lot of work ahead of us in the Senate," said Freddie Patterson, director of the Federation's Department of Governmental Affairs. "We have a good deal of support for the bill in the Senate, because like their counterparts in the House Senators know the importance of farming to our state. However, some of the leadership in the Senate won't even allow the bill to be assigned to a committee for consideration."

Patterson said Federation members should contact their senators and encourage their support of the bill.

Recorded Votes on HB 420

YEAS -- 82
Speaker Seth Hammett, Greg Albritton, Gerald Allen, Locy Baker, Mike Ball, Jim Barton, Billy Beasley, Scott Beason, Robert Bentley, Lucius Black, Alan Boothe, Dick Brewbaker, DuWayne Bridges, Jim Carns, Joe Carothers, Tommy Carter, William Clark, Steve Clouse, Merika Coleman, Spencer Collier, Randy Davis, Bill Dukes, Priscilla Dunn, Joe Faust, Lea Fite, Craig Ford, Mark Gaines, Blaine Galliher, Ray Garner, Victor Gaston, Mac Gipson, Rusty Glover, Betty Carol Graham, Ronald Grantland, Lynn Greer, David Grimes, Ken Guin, Albert Hall, Micky Hammon, John Hawkins, Mike Hill, Alvin Holmes, Mike Hubbard, Bobby Humphryes, Steve Hurst, Jamie Ison, Thomas Jackson, Ronald Johnson, John Knight, Richard Laird, Allen Layson, Jody Letson, Jay Love, Eric Major, Jimmy Martin, Thad McClammy, Mary Sue McClurkin, Frank McDaniel, Stephen McMillan; Mike Millican, Neal Morrison, Johnny Mack Morrow, Albert Morton, Charles Newton, Demetrius Newton, Jeremy Oden, Jack Page, Arthur Payne, Oliver Robinson, John Rogers, Yusuf Salaam, Howard Sanderford, Sue Schmitz, Thomas Sherer, Bobby Singleton, Terry Spicer, William Thigpen, Elwyn Thomas, Lesley Vance, Jack Venable, Cam Ward, Randy Wood.

NAYS -- 7
James Buskey, Linda Coleman, Laura Hall, Randy Hinshaw, Jim McClendon, Jeff McLaughlin, John Robinson.

ABSTAIN -- 1
Mary Moore

NOT VOTING -- 15
George Bandy, Barbara Boyd, Johnny Ford, Todd Greeson, Yvonne Kennedy, Bryant Melton, George Perdue and Nelson Starkey. The following had committed to vote for the bill but were unable to be present the day of the vote: Warren Beck, Marcel Black, Jeff Dolbare, Richard Lindsey, Joseph Mitchell, James Thomas and Frank "Skippy" White.


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