THE MAKING OF A LAW –PROGRESS BEING MADE ON LEGISLATION INITIATED BY CONSERVATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBER MIKE SIGAL THAT COULD HELP MILLIONS OF HUNGRY NY RESIDENTS
All 17 members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators signed a letter to our State Legislators endorsing proposed state legislation that could help millions of hungry New Yorker’s. The proposal was initiated by Mike Sigal, a member of our Conservation Advisory Committee who learned of a similar initiative while in France. Mike met with French officials, suggested that the Conservation Advisory Committee endorse the recommended state legislation. After the CAC endorsed the legislation the Greenburgh Town Board approved a resolution endorsing the proposed bill. Yesterday all 17 County Legislators (including Greenburgh Legislators Mary Jane Shimsky, Alfreda Williams Margaret Cunzio) sent the following letter to our state lawmakers also endorsing the initiative.
The next steps: Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins and Assemblyman Tom Abinanti have been asked to introduce legislation in Albany. the NYS Senate and Assembly will send the proposed legislation to appropriate committees and could vote to refer the legislation to the legislature for a vote. And if they say yes it goes to the Governor who will sign the bill. Hopefully, this will happen before the end of the legislative session: in June of this year.
WHAT YOU COULD DO? If you know any State Legislators – contact them and endorse the proposal. You can also write to the Governor at the capitol in Albany endorsing the proposed legislation.
Thanks Mike for your efforts that could help millions.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor
THIS IS WHAT THE COUNTY LEGISLATORS SIGNED!
February 15, 2017
We respectfully request that you introduce legislation that will help millions of hungry New Yorkers. A New York State Excess Food Act would be a significant humanitarian and environmental initiative, without any revenue or administrative cost to government.
Last year the Republic of France adopted a law, without a dissenting vote in the French National Assembly, requiring large supermarkets to make available to feed the needy food they were otherwise throwing away. The Town of Greenburgh spent a year studying this law and the distribution of food to the needy, consulting with, among others, supermarket managers and the Food Bank for Westchester (which serves 6.3 million meals annually).
The proposed Excess Food Act would require large supermarkets to make excess edible food available to charities and religious organizations that provide free food to needy people. This is food that is otherwise being thrown away in the ordinary course of business.
Large supermarkets, on a daily basis, cull their shelves for foods that don't meet their cosmetic standards or are reaching their "best by" date. This food is still edible. Last year, in the United States between 60 - 100 million tons of edible food was thrown away, while an estimated 50 million Americans, including 16 million children, go hungry. At the same time, fossils fuels are being burnt to transport the food to landfills, where the waste creates environmentally harmful gases. This is a humanitarian disgrace, with adverse environmental consequences.
The proposed law is simple. It fits into the existing system of food distribution to the needy. The Food Bank for Westchester (which has a need for additional food to serve 10 million more meals than the 6.3 million it currently serves) has indicated that this legislation fits right into their current collection and distribution system. There is no tax revenues lost to NYS, and the State does not have any administrative or enforcement burdens. All public health and food laws are kept in place. Foods with quick spoilage problems are excluded. Supermarkets and those involved in the distribution chain of this food are provided a save harbor from litigation, except for gross negligence or intentional misconduct. There are no new costs to supermarkets -- and they may even save some money by not having to pay to have the excess food carted away.
Thank you for your consideration. We hope that you will help New York State become the leader in this humanitarian and environmental effort. Please contact us with any questions.