R 229
2017 -- H 5421
Enacted 05/04/2017

H O U S E   R E S O L U T I O N

Introduced By: Representatives Carson, Winfield, Fogarty, and Ajello
Date Introduced: February 08, 2017

     WHEREAS, Local food pantries have become critically important to households and
families that literally live hand to mouth, and with difficult economic times, donations and
contributions cannot keep up with need; and
     WHEREAS, Feeding America's 2014 statistics indicate that 48.1 million Americans,
including 15.3 million children, 5.4 million seniors, and 27.4 million additional adults live in food
insecure households. In Rhode Island, twelve percent (12%) of the state's households are food
insecure, and four and seven-tenths percent (4.7%) of Rhode Island households experience severe
food insecurity (hunger); and
     WHEREAS, The Rhode Island Community Food Bank serves 60,000 Rhode Islanders
each month, and one out of three of those served is a child under the age of 18. Statewide, the
Rhode Island food distribution system disseminated 9.4 million pounds of food to families last
year; and
      WHEREAS, According to Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) Solid
Waste Characterization Study, forty-six percent (46%) of the waste produced by grocery stores
was from food and 48 percent of the waste produced from restaurants is food; and
     WHEREAS, The Johnston Landfill handles most of the 1.5 million tons of waste the state
generates annually, and while the site is not forecast to fill up for another 25 years, if the trash
stream is cut down, it could last many more years; and
     WHEREAS, These food waste products, from both grocery stores and restaurants, are
directly impacting our already overburdened landfills and have a great potential for reduction
through donation programs; and
     WHEREAS, The National Resource Defense Council reports that forty percent (40%) of
the food in the United States is lost somewhere from farm to landfill, with food being the number
one component in our nation's landfills and one-third of all food produced for humans going to
waste; and
     WHEREAS, Section 21-34-1 of the Rhode Island General Laws protects donors from
liability and yet, according to We Share Hope, one in seven Rhode Islanders are still food
insecure. The commitment by local grocery stores, restaurants and other food producing entities
to donating nutritious, leftover food to feed hungry people, not landfills, will be a positive step in
solving our states hunger pains; now, therefore be it
     RESOLVED, That a special legislative commission be and the same is hereby created
consisting of thirteen (13) members: three (3) of whom shall be members of the Rhode Island
House of Representatives, not more than two (2) from the same political party, to be appointed by
the Speaker of the House; one of whom shall be the Director of the Rhode Island Department of
Health, or designee; one of whom shall be the Director of the URI Feinstein Center for a Hunger
Free America, or designee; one of whom shall be the Director of Acquisition and Distribution for
the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, or designee; one of whom shall be the President of the
Rhode Island Food Dealers Association, or designee; one of whom shall be a member of a Rhode
Island Chamber of Commerce Association, to be appointed by the Speaker of the House; one of
whom shall be the Dean of Culinary Education in the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson &
Wales University, or designee; one of whom shall be the Chair of the Rhode Island Food Policy
Council, or designee; one of whom shall be the Chairman of the Rhode Island Hospitality
Association, or designee; one of whom shall be the Chair of the Inter-Agency Food & Nutrition
Policy Advisory Council, or designee; and one of whom shall be the Director of the Rhode Island
Resource Recovery Corporation, or designee.
     In lieu of any appointment of a member of the legislature to a permanent advisory
commission, a legislative study commission, or any commission created by a General Assembly
resolution, the appointing authority may appoint a member of the general public to serve in lieu
of a legislator, provided that the majority leader or the minority leader of the political party which
is entitled to the appointment consents to the member of the general public.
     The purpose of said commission shall be to make a comprehensive study, and provide
recommendations for the steps necessary to remove barriers, and provide incentives to implement
and increase food recovery and donations in Rhode Island.
     Forthwith upon passage of this resolution, the members of the commission shall meet at
the call of the Speaker of the House and organize and shall select a chairperson from among the
     Vacancies in said commission shall be filled in like manner as the original appointment.
     The membership of said commission shall receive no compensation for their services.
     All departments and agencies of the state, shall furnish such advice and information,
documentary and otherwise, to said commission and its agents as is deemed necessary or
desirable by the commission to facilitate the purposes of this resolution.
     The Speaker of the House is hereby authorized and directed to provide suitable quarters
for said commission; and be it further
     RESOLVED, That the commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the
House of Representatives no later than March 7, 2018, and said commission shall expire on June
7, 2018.