Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/04/1995 02:05 PM House HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 SB 68 - FOOD BANKS;MEAT & SEAFOOD PROCESSORS                              
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE turned the gavel over to Co-Chair Toohey.                      
 Number 113                                                                    
 JANET OGAN, Legislative Secretary for Senator Loren Leman,                    
 presented the sponsor statement on his behalf.  She said Senator              
 Leman introduced SB 68 at the request of the Food Bank of Alaska.             
 The purpose of this bill is to encourage more entities to donate              
 food to food banks and nonprofit agencies that serve the needy.  It           
 provides salmon hatcheries and meat and seafood processors with the           
 same protection under the state law they have under the Federal               
 Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (FGSFD).                                     
 MS. OGAN explained the FGSFD relieves food donors from certain                
 liability for death or injury resulting from the death of donated             
 food.  To qualify for protection under the Act as a donor, the                
 person must donate the food for free distribution by a food bank.             
 Current state law protects donors and food banks from civil and               
 criminal liability arising from injury or death attributable to the           
 condition of the donated food.                                                
 MS. OGAN said however, the donating party remains liable if the               
 injury or death results from gross negligence or recklessness, or             
 intentional misconduct of the donor.  Salmon hatcheries, and meat             
 and seafood processors are not specifically listed as donors                  
 covered by this protection under existing state law.                          
 Number 207                                                                    
 MS. OGAN said upon the passage of this bill, the Food Bank of                 
 Alaska (FBA) expects thousands of pounds of seafood and meat to be            
 contributed and distributed to the needy.  The bill also clarifies            
 to whom and how the FBA distributes goods.                                    
 MS. OGAN introduced an amendment that provides for an effective               
 date for SB 68.  Basically, the amendment pertains to the fishing             
 industry, so the industry will be able to contribute goods they               
 have received.                                                                
 Number 258                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE acknowledged the presence of Representative Robinson           
 at 2:08 p.m., and invited Representative Ed Willis, who was                   
 observing the meeting, to sit at the committee table.  Co-Chair               
 Bunde also moved the committee accept CSSB 68(HESS).                          
 CO-CHAIR CYNTHIA TOOHEY found no objection, and the CS was adopted.           
 She asked if there was a list of entities to which salmon                     
 hatcheries and meat and seafood processors could donate.                      
 MS. OGAN said there was not.  The bill speaks specifically of the             
 FBA, for distribution to the needy.                                           
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE moved amendment one, K.1 dated 3/9/95.  There were             
 no objections, and the amendment was adopted.                                 
 Number 385                                                                    
 JACK DOYLE, Executive Director of the FBA, said he has served in              
 that position since late 1987.  The FBA is an umbrella of over 200            
 nonprofit agencies all over Alaska.  The FBA was chartered in 1979            
 as a nonprofit corporation in the state of Alaska.  It is a member            
 of Second Harvest, a national umbrella for 188 food banks scattered           
 across the United States.                                                     
 MR. DOYLE said the role of the FBA in Alaska is unique.  The FBA              
 solicits, receives, sorts, inspects, stores, ships, delivers or               
 provides food and household product donations through a network of            
 soup kitchens, food pantries, emergency shelters, youth and adult             
 day care centers, and youth agencies.  Products come to the FBA               
 from many sources:  Purchased food, national donations, food                  
 drives, day-old products, U.S. Government commodities, and locally            
 donated products within the state of Alaska.                                  
 MR. DOYLE continued that persons or companies who donate products             
 need the protection of the Alaska Good Samaritan Act, so if they              
 donate in good faith, they will not be held responsible should                
 something go wrong.                                                           
 Number 492                                                                    
 MR. DOYLE said currently such protection is excluded in Alaska's              
 Good Samaritan Act for meat and fish processors, and bottlers.  The           
 proposed amendments would extend protection to potential donors who           
 process meat, fish or bottled goods, and would allow the FBA to               
 recover some of its overhead costs.  The goal of the FBA is unique            
 in that it accepts these large donations, sometimes in van-loads of           
 products, from the Lower 48.  When the food comes in to the FBA, it           
 is stored, sometimes for several months, until the many agencies in           
 the network can access that food.                                             
 MR. DOYLE said the FBA is, by comparison, kind of the "J.B.                   
 Gottstein" of reusable food and household products.  The FBA                  
 distributes not to people, but to the agencies which then provide             
 the products at no cost to clients.                                           
 MR. DOYLE thanked the HESS Committee members for the opportunity to           
 testify in favor of the proposed amendments to Alaska's Good                  
 Samaritan Act, contained in SB 86.                                            
 Number 567                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE supports the Good Samaritan bills to protect people            
 who are trying to do a good turn.  However, he asked if there has             
 been recent incidences in the FBA, or if Mr. Doyle knows of any               
 incidences in which someone who has been a Good Samaritan has been            
 the recipient of a lawsuit.                                                   
 MR. DOYLE was not aware of any lawsuits in his seven years at the             
 FBA.  The FBA has not had any donations which were tainted.  The              
 FBA watches and stores goods, and inspects goods on a regular                 
 basis.  If the products look questionable, it is thrown away                  
 without hesitation.  The FBA tries to exert that care.  Mr. Doyle             
 cannot respond in terms of individual food distribution centers               
 such as the Glory Hole in Juneau.                                             
 Number 642                                                                    
 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Mr. Doyle would say SB 68 is a proactive              
 measure rather than a reaction to a problem.  Mr. Doyle said the              
 bill was proactive.                                                           
 Number 664                                                                    
 RAY GILLESPIE, Lobbyist, represented four regional aquaculture                
 associations and hatcheries.  One is located in Cook Inlet, one is            
 in Prince William Sound, one is in northern and one in southern               
 Southeast Alaska.  He said the four regional aquaculture                      
 associations support SB 68.  There is, in the bill, a specific                
 provision that deals with the donation of hatchery fish to a food             
 MR. GILLESPIE noted that Co-Chair Bunde had questioned whether                
 there has been any lawsuits.  The Cook Inlet Aquaculture                      
 Association had declined in the past, based on advice from their              
 attorney, to donate fish.  This bill will facilitate donations, and           
 relieve the association of some legal concerns.                               
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if the legal concerns arose over fresh,                 
 frozen or canned fish.                                                        
 MR. GILLESPIE said the concerns arose over donated fish that was at           
 the hatchery for brood stock.  The fish is typically opened, the              
 eggs are taken, and the salmon is then transferred, if it is fit              
 for human consumption, to a food bank for consumption by whatever             
 agencies distribute fish.  In the past, the association's attorney            
 had advised against the donation of this fish, because there is               
 some legal exposure there.  This legislation would eliminate that             
 impediment to those donations.                                                
 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY closed the hearing to public testimony, and asked             
 for the wish of the committee.  Co-Chair Bunde motioned HCS CSSB
 68(HES) be moved from the HESS Committee with individual                      
 recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes.  There were no                 
 objections, and the bill was moved.                                           

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