MONTGOMERY — Legislation creating a corporation governing the Alabama Farm Center project in Jefferson County stalled on Tuesday after it didn’t receive enough support from House members on a conference committee. 

The conference committee is made up of three members from the House and three members from the Senate. Changes to the bill were approved unanimously by the three senators. However, only one House member approved, State Rep. Danny Crawford (R-Athens). State Rep. Sam Jones (D-Mobile) and State Rep. Andy Whitt (R-Harvest) who didn’t show up to the meeting didn’t sign on to approve the legislation. A bill needs two members from each chamber for the bills to advance for approval in the House, Senate.

The legislation is associated with the Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA), which opposed the lottery and gambling package that narrowly failed in the Senate last week.

One House member said holding up the legislation wasn’t retribution for the gambling constitutional amendment failing last week.

“Not necessarily. I was called six minutes ago to come to the meeting and I was really trying to wrap my head around what the differences were and the differences they talked about were really not what I read in the copy I got. I’ve got some real concerns. Six minutes is not enough time for me to analyze anything,” Jones told 1819 News after the meeting.

The constitutional amendment easily passed the House, but it failed to pass in the Senate by one vote.

ALFA announced in September its plans to begin due diligence on a site selected for the Alabama Farm Center at Hallmark Farm in north Jefferson County. 

The Federation entered into a real estate contract with Hallmark Farm Cooperative District to purchase the approximately 500-acre property located along I-65 in Warrior at Exit 280. 

Jeff Helms, a spokesman for ALFA, told 1819 News on Tuesday “Alabama Farmers Federation remains committed to the Alabama Farm Center at Hallmark Farms.” 

“Our partners in Jefferson County are eager to move forward with planning, infrastructure, and construction. We will continue working with the county, legislative delegation, and other stakeholders to make the Alabama Farm Center a reality,” Helms said.

The gambling constitutional amendment could still come up again in the Senate in the final three days of the legislative session.

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