Steaming chicken sizzler with noodles (123rf.com Stock Photo)

Steaming chicken sizzler with noodles (123rf.com Stock Photo)

The first bill to pass the Legislature this year allows restaurants to donate leftovers to charity

A coalition of Democrats, independents and Republicans controls the Alaska House of Representatives, but the first bill passed by the Alaska Legislature in 2018 has come from the House’s purely Republican minority.

In an 18-0 vote Wednesday, the Alaska Senate approved a measure from Rep. David Talerico, R-Healy, that shields restaurants and others from legal liability if they donate leftover food to charity.

The bill was introduced last year in the House and passed that body in a 39-0 vote. It now goes to the desk of Gov. Bill Walker for approval.

Talerico, speaking Friday to the Empire, said he got the idea for the bill after seeing a Fairbanks business throw out hot food at the end of the night.

He said it wasn’t being dumped by the pallet, but “because of the nature of that particular food, they were probably to some degree uncomfortable with the situation they had.”

According to the latest available statistics from the state of Alaska, one in seven Alaskans are on food stamps.

Talerico said he wants to make sure the state is doing as much as it can to make sure Alaskans, and particularly the state’s children, don’t go hungry.

“That just can’t be a good thing,” he said of the idea that Alaska children are hungry.

Talerico’s bill was carried in the Senate by Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, who introduced it on the floor.

Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, told the Empire on Friday that the bill came up for a vote because it was a “pretty darn good bill” with lots of support in both the House and Senate.

That it came up before any other measure was just a matter of scheduling.

Talerico acknowledged that his measure won’t solve hunger in Alaska, but it’s a simple, small step forward.

“It’s not a world-changer, but honestly, if I could get a couple of kids well-fed … and life is better in general, it’s not a bad thing,” he said.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.


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