Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/15/1995 09:06 AM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 SHES - 2/15/95                                                                
                                                                               
         SB  68 FOOD BANKS;MEAT & SEAFOOD PROCESSORS                         
                                                                               
 Number 393                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN GREEN introduced  SB 68  as the next order of business               
 before the committee.                                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN, Prime Sponsor, said that he had originally                     
 introduced SB 68 at the request of the Food Bank of Alaska,                   
 however, other food processors have expressed interest in the                 
 legislation.  He explained that state law does not coincide with              
 the recent passage of the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act at the             
 federal level.  SB 68 would afford meat and seafood processors the            
 same level of protection against simple negligence as other food              
 donors.  He expressed hope that this legislation would encourage              
 food processors to donate excess food to the needy.                           
                                                                               
 JACK DOYLE, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Alaska, urged              
 the adoption of proposed amendments in order to address inequities.           
 He pointed out that there are tax advantages to manufacturers and             
 donors of food and household products; they recover production                
 costs and a portion of the intended mark up.  Currently, Alaskan              
 meat and seafood processors, who could be tremendous food donors,             
 are excluded.  He noted that the protection of SB 68 would not                
 apply if food was donated knowing that it was unfit for                       
 consumption.  He requested that page 2 of a proposed amendment be             
 reworded in order to further protect the food bank as the                     
 middleman.                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN clarified that the change of language Mr. Doyle                 
 referred to would allow the recovery of a small amount of the cost            
 of distribution.  JACK DOYLE explained that the food bank incurs a            
 lot of overhead since they store the food until the agencies can              
 distribute it.                                                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN noted that the food would ultimately have to be                 
 freely distributed to needy persons, but the organizations may                
 incur a small fee.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 473                                                                    
                                                                               
 TOM MEARS, Executive Director of Cook Inlet Aqua Culture                      
 Association, informed the committee of an organization known as               
 Earth, a food bank, distributing unprocessed salmon in the                    
 Anchorage area.  The Cook Inlet Aqua Culture Association                      
 contributed in the first year, but not since.  He explained that              
 the problem seemed to be a conflict between alturistic tendencies             
 and minimization of corporate exposure; the association is afraid             
 to participate in food distribution.  He expressed the need to have           
 the amendment which would solve the liability concerns for                    
 corporations and associations.                                                
                                                                               
 Mr. Mears pointed out that most of the fish to be given away have             
 been held for several weeks in order that they mature; the hatchery           
 uses the eggs and milk for spawning purposes.  He addressed a                 
 letter received in March of 1990 from the State Department of                 
 Environmental Conservation which indicated that fish that have been           
 stripped of their roe and milk may be unfit for human consumption.            
 If the government determines that these fish are fit for free                 
 distribution, then the association should not be held liable for              
 participating.  The amendment would attempt to accomplish that.               
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN asked if Mr. Mears had a copy of an amendment that              
 originated in the House.  TOM MEARS said he did have a copy of the            
 amendment and suggested that "roe strip" be removed from the                  
 proposed new Section C and only specify salmon.  This would clean             
 up the language.                                                              
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN asked if there were any Alaskan hatcheries that could           
 donate anything beside salmon.  TOM MEARS said not to his                     
 knowledge.                                                                    
                                                                               
 RAY GILLESPIE, represents the four non-profit regional Aqua Culture           
 Associations, urged the adoption of the amendment.                            
                                                                               
 Number 548                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN moved to adopt Amendment 1.  SENATOR MILLER objected            
 for purposes of discussion.                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS inquired as to the level of liability that SB 68                
 would give immunity.  SENATOR LEMAN specified that it would be a              
 release of liability for simple negligence.                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER asked if others in the list would fall under the               
 same level of immunity.  SENATOR LEMAN explained that it is the               
 same level of immunity and the amendment would clarify the                    
 confusion regarding fish processing, such as stripping roe in a               
 hatchery.  SENATOR MILLER removed his objection.  Without                     
 objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN moved that CSSB 68(HES) be moved out of committee               
 with individual recommendations.  Without objection, it was so                
 ordered.                                                                      

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