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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 94255        FILED ON: 9/22/2009

HOUSE  .   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 4255

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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By Mr. Straus of Mattapoisett, for the committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, on House, No. 718 and House, No. 776, a Bill establishing the Massachusetts Food Policy Council (House, No. 4 255 ).  September 23 , 2009.

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An Act ESTABLISHING THE MASSACHUSETTS FOOD POLICY COUNCIL.

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F OR THE COMMITTEE :

 

Name:

District/Address:

William M. Straus

10th Bristol


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

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In the Year Two Thousand and Nine

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An Act ESTABLISHING THE MASSACHUSETTS FOOD POLICY COUNCIL.


 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              Chapter 20 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 6B the following section:—

Section 6D. (a) There shall be established a Massachusetts food policy council, hereinafter referred to as the council. The council shall consist of 15 members, 1 of whom shall be a member of the house representatives who shall be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; 1 of whom shall be a member of the senate who shall be appointed by the president of the senate; 1 of whom shall be a member of the house representatives who shall be appointed by the minority leader of the house of representatives; 1 of whom shall be a member of the senate who shall be appointed by the minority leader of the senate;  1 of whom shall be the commissioner of the dep art ment of agricultural resources, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of the dep art ment of public health, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of the dep art ment of education, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of the dep art ment of environmental protection, or his designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of the dep art ment of transitional assistance, or his designee;  1 of whom shall be the secretary of the executive office of housing and economic development, or his designee;  and 5 of which shall be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a farmer or representative of a farm organization, 1 of whom shall  represent food distribution, processing and marketing interests, 1 of whom shall represent direct-to-consumer marketing efforts, 1 of whom shall represent a local health department addressing food safety and nutrition, and 1 of whom shall represent community-based efforts addressing nutrition and public health.   The Council shall also have an advisory committee. The Council shall appoint members to this committee. The members shall include but no t be limited to the following members : 2 members who are active farmers or who represent farm er association s ; 1 member who represents an organization engaged in farmland protection and conservation; 1 member who represents an organization engaged in developing new farm businesses, urban and community supported agriculture, community gardening, immigrant and refugee farming, or youth education through agriculture; 1 member who represents the cooperative extension service at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; 1 member who represents food distribution, processing and marketing interests; 1 member who represents a school of nutrition or public health; 1 member who represents a community-based coalition or health care provider addressing obesity and chronic disease; 1 member who represents citizens in need of transitional assistance; and 1 member who shall represent an anti-hunger organization. The Council shall also have the ability create other committees as it sees necessary to carry out its purpose. The advisory committee and any other committees shall serve at the direction of the Council.

(b)  The purpose of the council shall be to develop recommendations to advance the following food system goals for the Commonwealth:   (1) to increase production, sales and consumption of Massachusetts-grown foods;  (2) t o develop and promote programs that bring healthy Massachusetts grown foods to Massachusetts residents, through programs such as targeted state subsidies, increased state purchasing of local products for school and summer meals and other child and adult care programs, double coupon initiatives, direct market subsidies to communities with identified needs, increasing institutional purchases that are Massachusetts grown and other programs to make access  to healthy Massachusetts products affordable; and to develop these and other programs in order to increase access  in communities with disproportionate burdens of obesity and chronic  diseases ; (3) to protect the land and water resources needed for sustained local food production; and (4) to train, retain and recruit farmers,  and to provide for the continued economic viability of local food production, processing and distribution in the Commonwealth.  Recommendations shall include benchmarks and criteria for measuring progress in achieving each goal.  Recommendations shall consider, but not be limited to, ways in which the following may help achieve each of the four goals:  (1) increased collaboration and communication among and between state agencies;  (2) increased collaboration and communication among and between state and federal agencies; (3) innovative public/private p art nerships that can leverage private and public market influence ( such as through institutional purchasing and contracts);  (4) changes to state or federal laws or regulations relevant to the Massachusetts food system; ; (5) changes in state or federal program implementation relevant to the Massachusetts food system; and (6) additional federal, state, local and/or private investments needed.   In developing its recommendations, the council shall solicit public input through public hearings or informational sessions; the council may also conduct research and analysis as needed and invite additional stakeholder p art icipation through its advisory committee or other committees to address issues identified by the council as requiring further study or p art icular expertise.   The council shall also review progress made on each of its recommendations, based on the benchmarks and criteria developed.  

(c) The council shall make initial recommendations within one year of the date of the first meeting of the council.   Thereafter, the council shall submit an annual report that includes   recommendations and progress on benchmarks as provided in subsection (b) not later than December 31. The report shall be submitted to the governor, the president of the senate, the speaker of the house, the chairs of the joint committee on public health, the chairs of the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture, the clerk of the house of representative and the clerk of the senate. The Council may make an annual request for funding to provide administrative and other support to the Council. 

(d) The council shall meet periodically at the call of the chair, but not less than four times annually. All meetings shall be subject to Chapter 39 of the General Laws .

(e) The council shall be subject to the public record requirements from Chapter 66 of the General Laws .

(f) Members of the council shall be appointed for terms of 3 years or until a successor is appointed. Members shall be eligible to be reappointed.  The chair of the council shall be elected by the members of the council for a term of not to exceed two years .

(g) In the event of a vacancy on the council, the original appointing authority shall, within 60 days of the occurrence of a vacancy, appoint a new member consistent with subsection (a) to fulfill the remainder of the unexpired term.

              (h) Members of the council shall serve without compensation. The members of the council who may be members of the General Court or employees of an executive agency shall serve without additional compensation.

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