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Landowner Protection Bill Signed
Friday, 01 May 2009

 May 1-- Governor Sonny Perdue’s today signed into law HB 529, the Landowner Protection Act, that limits liability concerns for landowners who open their property to hunters and agri-tourists. The Landowner Protection Act was originally introduced by Administration Floor Leader Sen. Bill Heath. Sen. John Bulloch, Rep. Tom McCall, Rep. Jim Cole, Rep, Jay Roberts, Rep. Jon Burns, Rep. Bob Hanner and Rep. Lee Anderson also worked for passage of the bill.

“Georgia is a premier agri-tourism destination,” said Governor Perdue. “The Landowner Protection Act protects our ability and the ability of our children to enjoy Georgia natural resources.”

The Governor signed the legislation at Lane Southern Orchards, a premier agri-tourism destination.  At the bill signing he was joined by Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin, members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, and members of the Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Agribusiness Council and the Governor’s Agriculture Advisory Commission.  The signing was also attended by 5th graders from Piedmont Academy.

The Landowner Protection Act protects landowners, who allow hunters to hunt on their property, from being sued for accidents arising during a hunt except those due to gross negligence on the part of the landowner. Likewise, visitors to an agri-tourism attraction (e.g., visiting a farm to pick peaches) would not be able to win lawsuits filed against the landowner for injuries during such a visit except in cases of gross negligence.

  “Georgia is an agricultural and sportsman’s paradise,” said Sen. Heath. “This bill ensures that landowners are able to share their property so that all Georgians can appreciate the natural beauty of our state.”

HB 529 also ensures that no local government can adopt any regulation of crop management or animal husbandry practices.

“Encroachment, both physical and political, is one of the most dangerous things affecting agriculture,” said Rep. Tom McCall.  “HB 529 prevents local governments from passing any damaging or restricting ordinances.”

The Governor also signed SB 80, the Food Processing Safety Act.  SB 80 was sponsored by Senators John Bulloch, John Crosby, George Hooks, Ross Tolleson, Ralph Hudgens and Freddie Sims.  This legislation allows the Department of Agriculture to require testing of food products before they reach market and gives agricultural inspectors the ability to look at a company’s internal testing results.

“Georgia’s Ag businesses have a sacred trust with consumers and a strong commitment to food safety,” said Governor Perdue.  “SB 80 will help guard the safety and security of our food supply from bad actors.”

“SB 80 gives the Department of Agriculture new tools to keep our food safe,” said Sen. John Bulloch.  “Georgia will continue to produce some of the best agriculture products in the world.”

Governor Perdue signed three additional pieces of Agriculture legislation:  SB 152, SB 43 and SB 128.  For more information on this legislation, please visit www.legis.state.ga.us.

 
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