Thursday, September 24, 2009

Senate Unlikely to Take Up Changes In Food Distribution Bill

Despite a letter from the State's Attorney General, and several letters from local pastors worried about serving Christmas dinners to the needy, the Senate is unlikely to have time in the current short session, to take up legislative change in the bill which currently is interpreted to prohibit charitable distribution of food prepared in unlicensed kitchens.

In the present, abbreviated session, the legislature is wrestling with regulations which need to be created or modified as a result of the late passage of the state budget.

"We got it (the Attorney General's letter) very late in the process, and I think there's some agreement with the Attorney General and the concerns he raises," said Derek Slap, Senate Democratic spokesman. "We're absolutely sympathetic to the points the Attorney General and others have raised."

But Slap indicated that the complaint, and the legislation in question, would have to be fully vetted before action could be taken. Slapp suggested that there may be an approach featuring a broader interpretation of the statute which would not require a change in legislation.

Without the change, local pastors in Middletown are concerned that Christmas meals, which consist of turkey and the fixings prepared in the homes of parishoners, would have to be cancelled.

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