AFA Newsroom V8 No. 4, February 15, 2013
Last Call for the 2013 Mid-Winter Meeting, A Great Event You don't Want to Miss!
If you like getting together with your friends in the forestry community, you don't want to miss this year's Mid-Winter Meeting on March 1-3 at the beautiful Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa in Destin, Florida.
Mr. C. Gull (pictured here) says that after the doldrums of winter Destin's beaches are: "A sight for sore eyes!" Okay..., alright, so seagulls can't talk. But if they could, they'd probably say something like that.
Really folks, among the great program activities you'll miss if you don't make it to Destin will be a keynote address by U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions. Senator Sessions is one of the few vocal opponents of runaway spending and the excesses of the Obama administration. When Jeff speaks, everybody should LISTEN! There will also be ample opportunities to learn and earn Continuing Education (CE) credits at some of the great program sessions. And, of course the AFA being a family-friendly outfit, there will be plenty of activities you're whole family can participate in, not to mention the great shopping opportunities nearby. So go ahead and make your reservations TODAY and we'll see you on the sugar-white beaches of Destin, Florida!
Download Mid-Winter Brochure
Status Reports on House & Senate Bills Introduced in 2013 Regular Session
By Tom Saunders
Attached are the Senate and House Status reports reflecting legislative action up to February 12, 2013. Several hundred bills have already been introduced and so we are, once again, off to the races! I will be sending out notes on various legislative initiatives during the course of the session and will keep you posted on initiatives of general interest and those that could have an impact on forestry.
Other Legislative News:
~ Lawmakers are considering legislation to merge state law enforcement agencies
~ A bill to strengthen gun rights, to include allowing guns in vehicles where people work
~ A bill to require repayment of money borrowed from the Alabama Trust Fund by 2026. (NOTE: This bill, HB94, passed the Senate while we were on deadline. Senator Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, who handled the bill in the Senate, amended it to make the repayment "absolute." The bill will now go back the House for approval of the Senate amendment and then to the Governor who also supports the payback. Thanks should be extended to Senator Taylor, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Rep. Jay Love, the House sponsor).
STATESMAN'S CORNER: Senator Phil Williams, R-10th District, (Cherokee, Etowah)
One of the key components of AFA’s legislative mission for the 2013 legislative session is the focus on fiscal responsibility through streamlining and consolidation. Several prospective initiatives have been identified and we are pleased to see that the Legislative Leadership is on board and working diligently towards that objective. A key early piece of this initiative involves the consolidation of the information technologies functions of state government.
Thanks to Senator Phil Williams (R- Gadsen), after the culmination of a year long effort, consolidation of IT is well on its way to becoming law, having passed the Senate on Tuesday, September 12th. Now on its way to consideration by the House, it appears that this effort, which is anticipated to save the state $32 - $64 million, is poised for passage and implementation.
Senator Phil Williams was elected to the Alabama Senate on November 2, 2010. He was born into a military family, March 20, 1965, at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Phil received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Alabama, and his Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. He also completed the United States Army Combined Arms and Service Staff School, and the United States Army Command and General Staff College.
Senator Williams currently serves as Chief Operations Officer and General Counsel for the Tax Credit Processing Center, LLC. He is a Southern Baptist and his interests include history, sporting clays and militaria.
Senator Williams serves on the following Committees:
~ Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
~ Finance and Taxation General Fund
~ Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability (Chairperson)
~ Local Legislation No. 1
~ Veterans and Military Affairs
Senator Williams was instrumental in passage of a bill establishing the Alabama Technology Authority to coordinate information technology services for state agencies. Contact Phil at firstname.lastname@example.org or call his office at (334) 242-7857.
Starting with this issue, we will profile a member of the State Legislature that we believe can be relied on to work proactively to improve our state and industry. SD
Blount County Commission Votes to Remove All Weight Restrictions on Blount County Roads
As most of you know, the Association is involved in a lawsuit in Blount County which resulted from the posting of weight limits on certain roads that had the effect of either restricting or preventing timber harvesting on certain lands. In light of that, the following is a paragraph from a story in the February 13, 2013 issue of the Blount Countian:
In another action unrelated to the legislative delegation, commissioners voted – after going into executive session – to remove all weight limits on county roads, thereby removing a major bone of contention in potential lawsuits, including one currently pending, while at the same time taking a step back from their previous, aggressive posture on protecting taxpayers’ investment in the condition and longevity of county roads.
Read the full article
When a Friend Needs a Hand!
Anyone who has attended the Alabama Forestry Association's Annual Meetings knows the Rock and Roll group the Sweet Young'Uns. They have entertained our folks for so many years they seem like family. A member of the group, longtime drummer Chris Seymour, nearly died from an Aortic Aneurism recently. Facing imminent death, Chris was taken to the University of South Alabama Hospital where he was in surgery for eight hours facing a survival rate, for the type surgery he had, of 3%!
The doctors and staff at USA Hospital are calling Chris their "miracle patient" for surving a procedure that required stopping his heart of 27 minutes, and then restarting it to bring him back to life! Chris' recovery will be long and difficult and his job and his wife's job do not pay them if they are not working. So Chris and Susan Seymour need to "get by with a little help from their friends."
TCW Has Brought Forestry's Message to 2,000 Teachers and 40,000 Students
BY Chris Erwin
The Alabama Forestry Foundation thanks you for your continued support for the Teachers Conservation Workshops (TCW). Over the last forty years more than two thousand teachers have developed a life-long love and appreciation for Alabama’s well-managed natural resources and the role they play in protecting our environment, economy and way of life. With that in mind, just think---each teacher has an average of twenty children per class each year. That means that our forty year commitment to these workshops has potentially affected over forty thousand students many of whom are now voters. This is one way that we can ensure that the true story of the Forest Industry gets heard by the citizens of our State.
In order to continue these important efforts, we are counting on your support in 2013! Roger Brothers, a veteran agriscience teacher from Bibb County, past TCW participant and a long-time member and volunteer for the Alabama Forestry Association has agreed to serve as this year’s workshop coordinator. The workshop will take place in Auburn at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences on July 8 through 11. The agenda will include presentations from experienced industry personnel and AU faculty. It will also include field trips to the arboretum, the Mary Olive Thomas Demonstration Forest and the MeadWestvaco paper mill.
The workshop provides a unique perspective for participants with a hands-on experience in forest management practices and demonstrates how we make the valuable products they use every day. Project Learning Tree (PLT) activity guides are tools the teachers will use to incorporate the material from their workshop into their classroom and to their students.
We are asking that you sponsor one teacher for $500. If you would like to sponsor a specific teacher, please fill out the attached form. If you have any questions, please call Roger at 205-340-0125 (or you can reach me at 334-481-2133).
Any donation you make to the Foundation is a tax deductible charitable donation. Thank you again for your past support and for all you do to keep Alabama’s forests healthy and viable for future generations.
ALC Director Talks about B.A.S.I.C Trucking
By Ray Clifton: One of the biggest regulatory challenges we face as an industry will likely be compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA (FMCSA) program. This regulatory system is a targeted effort by the Federal government to identify (and eventually shut down) commercial motor carriers who are determined to be “unfit” to operate.
The CSA model measures and quantifies safety performance through a model they dub “BASIC” (Behavior, Analysis, Safety, Improvement, Categories). Data is collected from roadside inspections, state-reported crash data, and FMCSA census data.
For the rest of this issue's Logger Notes, click here.
Sierra Club Messing with Texas
Apparently the Eco-group the Sierra Club has not heard about one of the slogans that Texans are using as a warning not to pollute their roads and streets, to wit: "Don't Mess With Texas", because the activists environmental group is very decidedly "messing with Texas." Implied in the environmental groups meddling in Texas affairs is a warning for other states, including Alabama!
SFI, AU and AFC to Host First 2013 PLM Training Sessions March 21 & 28 at CAT Center
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Auburn University, and the Alabama Forestry Commission will host the first initial training for the Professional Logging Manager designation on March 21 and 28 at the Caterpillar Training Center near Auburn/Opelika. This class is required to receive the PLM designation for the first time but does not qualify for continuing education.
To register for the class, complete the registration form and return to AFA. For additional information Contact: email@example.com.
Wells Fargo Says Alabama Doing Well Recruiting Industry as State Economy Picks Up Steam
According to a report by Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Alabama's economic development program is working well and the state is regaining its fiscal footing as the dire influence of the "Great Recession" begins to ease.
Former National Tree Farm Family of the Year to Hold Field Day Event on April 18
The Conecuh County Forestry Planning Committee will host a landowner field day at Saloom Properties, LLC on April 18 from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The field day will include professional speakers on wildlife, longleaf and forest product markets, a free lunch and twenty nine vendors and exhibitors.
Salem and Dianne Saloom have been recognized as winners of the Helene Moseley Treasure Forest Award and were the National Tree Farm Family of the Year in 2010. Mark your calendars now for this opportunity to learn new ideas on wildlife and forest management and to network with like-minded landowners and resource professionals. Call 251-578-2762 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to pre-register.
Eco-Group Files "Intent to Sue" to List Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake as "Threatened"
The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a "formal notice of intent to sue" the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in an effort to force the Service to list the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake as a "threatened" species under the Endangered Species Act.
Such listing could have a very dramatic and highly negative impact on the practice of forestry in the Southeastern United States, including Alabama. The Alabama Forestry Association and other groups oppose environmentalists' efforts to list the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake as "threatened" under ESA because of its infringement on the use of privately-owned land.
Read Environmentalists Press Release
Alabama Ag and Industries Department Unveils 2013 edition of New Department Magazine
MONTGOMERY -- The Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries has unveiled the 2nd issue of Alabama Agriculture magazine, a 50-page, comprehensive guide to the state's farms, food and forests.
Texas School Funding Process Ruled Unconstitutional in State Court
Austin, Texas (AP) -- The system Texas uses to fund public schools violates the state's constitution by not providing enough money to school districts and failing to distribute it fairly, a judge ruled recently in a landmark decision that could force the Legislature to overhaul the way it pays for education.
State District Judge John Dietz ruled the funding mechanism does not meet the Texas Constitution's requirement for a fair and efficient system that provides a "general diffusion of knowledge."
American Hardwood Export Council Warns of Changes for Hardwood Exports
The American Hardwood Export Council has been informed by APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of USDA) that, in view of recent publicity surrounding invasive pests and plant health in Europe, EU customs authorities are looking much more closely at US lumber being imported.
There is increased risk that any shipments of lumber into the EU that fails to meet strict interpretation of EU phyto-sanitary requirements will be refused entry!
FRA Annual Meeting Set for April 17-20, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida
The Forest Resources Association will be holding its 79th Annual Meeting on April 17-20, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in Jacksonville, Florida.
The theme of this year's meeting is: "Turning Vision into Action: Advancing Wood Supply Chain Interests."
FRA also recently praised action in the US House concerning the issue of truck weight. Click here for a release on that subject.
Sign Up Now for Legal Seminar at 2013 Mid-Winter Meeting
Don't forget to sign up for the Continuing Legal Education Seminar covering a host of forest landowner issues on March 1, 2013 at the AFA Mid-Winter Meeting at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa.
Topics covered will include sessions on the Estate Tax in 2013, tax considerations for timberland owners, the "Forest Roads Case" and a host of other interesting and timely issues. Due to the uncertainty of the political and regulatory world, you don't want to miss this important seminar!
The cost is $150 per person, with lunch included. This course has been approved by the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission of Alabama for a maximum of 6 hours' credit.
Click here for flyer/registration info...
Baldwin County Man Arrested by AFC for Starting Wildland Fires
Investigators with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) arrested a man on January 25, 2013, for allegedly starting three fires in the Little River community in Baldwin County last November.
Anthony Thomas Boone, age 44 of Little River, was charged with Wildland Arson and Harassment and transported to the Baldwin County Jail.
Environmentalists List Talladega National Forest as "Endangered"
The Talladega National Forest has been listed as one of the most endangered wild places in the South by the Southern Environmental Law Center. The listing largely centers around recent attempts to lease 43,000 acres of the national forest for natural gas drilling.
The US Bureau of Land Management put the lease sale off until June because of the hue and cry raised by the environmentalists.
Tickets are Here for the "Turkey Special" Remington Semi-Auto 12-Gauge
Chris Erwin has beaucoup (that's French for a whole bunch) tickets for that nifty Turkey Special Remington Semi-Auto 12-gauge that will be given away on March 3rd at the Mid-Winter Meeting in Destin. The money raised will help the Tree Farm program, so go ahead and send in your order because you could win a gun patent made for the business end of turkey hunting; a Remington 11-87 Sportsman Super Mag Shurshot Turkey 12-Gauge. For $10 you get one chance to win this fabulous gun, $25 will buy you three chances.
Mail requests for tickets to Chris Erwin, 555 Alabama Street, Montgomery, AL 36104, or to email@example.com.
To download a flyer on this gun, click here.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative Pledges $400,000 in 2013 for Conservation Research
WASHINGTON, DC - The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) announced today it will deliver up to $400,000 in 2013 to support research into responsible forestry practices through the SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program.
Since 2010, SFI has awarded 33 grants totaling more than $1.32 million to support projects that promote sustainable forestry practices and engage communities. When leveraged with project partner contributions, that total investment exceeds $4.8 million.
"The decisions we make today regarding research investments and partnerships will better inform our future understanding of how working forests can continue to provide jobs, forest products and a variety of conservation services and benefits," said Kathy Abusow, President & CEO of SFI Inc.
STIHL Collegiate Timbersports Championship Series and Professional Event Coming to Auburn
AUBURN UNIVERSITY – STIHL Timbersports is bringing its Collegiate Timbersports Championship Series and a professional regional qualifying event to Auburn March 15 as part of the 56th Annual Southern Forestry Conclave hosted by Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.
Senator Sessions Responds to President Obama's State of the Union Speech
WASHINGTON—In response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement: “It was stunning how thoroughly and deliberately the president ignored the ominous threat hanging over this country—our surging $15 trillion debt. I stand ready, eager, and willing to work with the president on a real, honest agenda of government reform, but unfortunately, tonight’s speech was more campaign plan than reform plan. America is in stormy waters, but instead of mapping a course to calmer seas, the president is already focused on his next voyage." Read more...
Sessions also recently noted that several top Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have expressed no confidence that the Obama Administration will allow existing Immigration Laws to be enforced, much less any new laws the President wants to pass. Click here for video of the agents' testimony and statements.
F&W Forestry Report on Forestry
The latest issue of F&W Forestry Report F&W looks at the regulatory threat to forest roads in a case before the Supreme Court. It also contains reports on the continued strength of the paper industry, the resurgence in new home construction, the explosive growth of the wood pellet industry, and many other significant forestry developments.
Access the report
State and Local Sales Tax Rates for 2013
While most people are familiar with Alabama's state sales tax rate of 4%, there is less awarness of local sales tax rates which often double the tax when combined with the state rate. For instance, Alabama ranks 38th in the nation in its state sales tax rate, but ranks 8th in the nation when state and local rates are combined.
> Timberland Investment Conference
> 17th Biennial Southern Silvicultural Research Conference
> Biomass Heating Expo
> Forest Products Machinery & Equipment Exposition
> North American Wood Window and Door Symposium
Land 4 Sale
> Coosa County Land for Sale
> Crenshaw County Land for Sale
> Sumter County Land for Sale
From the EVP: Give Credit Where Credit is Due!
Cero…Niente...Nolla...Null! For the linguists among us, you understand. For those of you like me who speak Southern ? Zero…Zilch…Nada…….NUTHIN!
This is the amount of salary that Governor Bentley has received since taking office in January, 2010. That’s right….NUTHIN!
For the Rest of the Story, click here.
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