(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Senate gave final approval to a bill that has been coined the "Indiana Lifeline Bill," encouraging people to call for help in instances when someone needs medical assistance in alcohol-related emergencies.
Senate Democratic Leader Vi Simpson (D-Ellettsville) co-authored Senate Bill (SB) 274, which aims to protect lives by providing immunity to callers seeking emergency assistance for another person, alleviating fear of penalties for alcohol-related offenses for the caller.
The bill was approved in the Senate by a vote of 47-0 and will now go to the governor for further consideration and possible enactment.
"We know there is a serious alcohol problem on college campuses across the country, sometimes resulting in injury or death," said Sen. Simpson. "The new law will help prevent tragic and preventable, outcomes by encouraging young people to report medical emergencies when their friends are in need of assistance."
The legislation specifies that immunity would be provided to callers in instances of public intoxication or underage possession, consumption or transportation of an alcoholic beverage. People that drive under the influence of alcohol, are in possession of drugs or who act disorderly with emergency personnel would not be immune from penalties. Further, immunity would not be granted for persons needing help, a provision meant to ensure intervention for the victim when necessary.
In 2009 there were 200,000 alcohol-related emergencies involving individuals 20 years old and younger, according to the Indiana Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking.
Twelve states have adopted similar legislation, including Texas and Pennsylvania. Many colleges and universities in Indiana and nationwide already have similar campus policies.
For more information on Sen. Simpson, her legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.SenateDemocrats.IN.gov.
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