Vote could send expanded Lifeline Law to governor’s desk

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 20, 2014) — A vote by the state House of Representatives next week could help send a proposed expansion of the Lifeline Law to the governor’s desk.

As it stands, the Lifeline Law grants immunity to someone under 21 from alcohol-related charges while calling 911 to help someone suffering from alcohol-related illnesses.

However, college parties don’t always stop at alcohol and Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) told FOX59 News that the law needed to be expanded.

“The kids were saying, ‘I’m not a doctor. I don’t know what is wrong with that kid on the floor.’” Merritt said.  “We want to remove all the hurdles between calling 911.”

The proposed expansion contained in Senate Bill 227 would allow the same immunity for someone under 21 who is calling to provide help in any emergency, be it for alcohol, drugs, a fall or otherwise.

“With a lot of laws, sometimes there’s gotta be a little gray and this offers gray,” Merritt said.  “This offers that if a kid makes a mistake, then it can be cured.  We just need to know quickly.”

Immunity from alcohol-related prosecution would also be granted to victims of sexual assault, as well as a witness to any crime, for when they come forward.

Many area college students favor the expansion.

“It is definitely a protection that college kids should have,” said freshman Yianni Petsalis.

“Safety is always a priority. Having this law intact, it helps to remind you that safety is the priority,” said fellow freshman Lizzie Terrell.

The state Senate has already passed SB 227.  The House convenes at 10 a.m. and was scheduled to have a third reading of the bill Thursday, but the bill did not come up for a vote and is now scheduled for a final vote on Monday.