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Grantland, Orr draft industrial park bills

By M.J. Ellington (334)-262-1104

MONTGOMERY — Morgan County's senator and representative are handling bills that will allow the Morgan County Port Authority to develop a new industrial park.

The Morgan County Economic Development Association wants to develop 1,800 acres near Interstate 65 between Hartselle and Falkville for a second- generation Mallard Fox Creek Industrial Park sans water.

The problem?

The Decatur-Morgan County Port Authority, which developed Mallard Fox, is more than three miles away.

The solution?

Legislation by Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, and Rep. Ronald Grantland, D-Hartselle, to extend the territory of port authorities from the current three miles maximum distance from a navigable waterway to include the county in which the port authority operates.

Orr said the change allows port authorities to develop property beyond the three-mile limit allowed in current law. The bills also incorporate uses allowed in current law for port authority development of auditoriums, motels, restaurant, coffee shops, stores, warehouses, factories, manufacturing plants, office and other commercial buildings including industrial parks. SB54 is in the Senate Industrial Development and Recruitment Committee.

Grantland's bill is identical. HB 155 is assigned to the Commerce Committee.

Other Orr bills:

  • SB 56 corrects a gap in existing law. Now it is not a crime when teenagers under 16 but older than 12 have sexual contact with a child younger than 12. Orr's bill sets criminal penalties for such contact. Orr said law enforcement officials first alerted him to the age gap and told him there is little they can do when an abuser is in the 12 to 15 age group. The bill is in the House Judiciary Committee.

  • In SB 95, Orr wants to prohibit transfers of political campaign contributions from one political action committee to another. His bill does not stop all transfers among other supporters. The bill is in the Senate Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections Committee.

  • SB 57 requires candidates to file campaign finance reports at each state reporting period even if they have no opposition. The bill is in the House Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections Committee.

  • SB 55 recognizes driver learning permits from other states and counts the amount of time a person applying for a learner's permit brings from another state. Alabama requires people under 18 have an Alabama-issued learner's permit for a minimum of six months before getting a driver license. The bill is in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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