Bauer is referring to an ordinance recently cited in the summons and "arrest" of a Food Not Bombs member for distributing food in one of their weekly shared meals.
"I'm looking to make sure that a whole variety of people are protected in their activities," Bauer said. "And I want to be sure that we are not applying the law selectively."
While Bauer cites the Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts and church groups in his effort to amend 166-5, which defines activities in which a license must be obtained for the production or distribution of food, it is Food Not Bombs which is the catalyst for the debate.
Bauer will attempt to bring the proposed ordinance change before the Health Department at their regular meeting Monday afternoon (5:15 PM, Room 208, City Hall), but he has been warned that it may be tabled because of a lawsuit filed by Food Not Bombs against the city.
Food Not Bombs members were cited by the City Health Department after being warned that their weekly meals were illegal according to city and state ordinance. One member, Wesleyan student Abe Bobman, also received a summons and has requested a jury trial for his offense. The State Department of Health is currently conducting a hearing into the matter, and Food Not Bombs has sued the city and state for infringement of its rights to express itself through these weekly meals.
Bauer feels the solution to the problem is one that will be beneficial to all groups who share or distribute food occasionally to the public.
In his proposed version of the law, he extends the groups excepted from licensing.
Ordinance as currently written:
§ 166-5 Activities excluded.
The following activities are excluded from the licensing and fee requirements of this chapter: nonpermanent fruit and vegetable stands which do not require preparation, refrigeration, cooking and/or heating of any kind, including but not limited to farmers' markets and roadside stands.
Ordinance as proposed:
§ 166-5 Activities excluded.
The following activities are excluded from the licensing and fee requirements of this chapter:
A. Nonpermanent fruit and vegetable stands which do not require preparation, refrigeration, cooking and/or heating of any kind, including but not limited to farmers' markets and roadside stands.
B. A non-profit cooperative wherein no permanent facilities are used for storing or handling food, and which gives food to its members or guests at no charge.
C. A private home, church, private club, or other nonprofit association that gives or sells food to its members and guests at occasional events.
D. A for-profit entity that gives or sells food at occasional events, for the benefit of a nonprofit association, if thefor-profit entity receives no monetary benefit, other than that resulting from recognition for participating in the event.
If the Health Department accepts his amendments, Bauer plans to bring the proposed ordinance change to the City Council for consideration.