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McCampbell to host town hall meeting

State representative A.J. McCampbell will host a town hall forum on Thursday at 5:15 p.m. at Rooster Hall in downtown Demopolis. The public is encouraged to attend.

McCampbell will answer questions as well as discuss legislative issues concerning the 71st District, which includes Marengo, Greene, Sumter and Tuscaloosa counties.

The town hall meeting with his constituents follows a major legislative victory for McCampbell in the 2009 regular session.

McCampbell recently sponsored Alabama House Bill 473, which requires state restaurants to label the country of origin of the catfish they serve. The bill passed the State Senate 30 to 1, and Gov. Bob Riley recently signed the bill into law.

With August being National Catfish Month, the legislation could not take effect at a better time.

The bill represents a significant victory for Alabama catfish farmers and consumers. Alabama, which is currently the nation’s second-largest producer of farm-raised catfish, has had to compete with imported catfish from Vietnam and China. Often, these catfish have tested positive for chemicals and antibiotics that are banned in the United States.

Several catfish producers traveled to Montgmery by bus to lobby for the passage of the bill. McCampbell received commendation for his diligent backing of the bill from many state farmers and leaders, including Alabama Farmers Federation catfish division director Mitt Walker.

“Rep. McCampbell’s tireless support of this bill was critical to working through concerns raised by opponents and securing passage in the House,” said Walker.

Alabama Catfish Producers will provide signs and menu materials to restaurants that serve U.S. farm-raised catfish, and the Alabama Department of Health will develop rules to enforce the new legislation.

In addition to the catfish labeling bill, the Alabama Legislature also passed its education and general budgets relatively ahead of schedule in the 2009 regular session. Both budgets include a total of $1.5 billion in federal stimulus money.

Constituents are invited to bring any questions, concerns or comments about recent or upcoming legislation to the forum.