Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/15/1995 09:06 AM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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.