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[R67] Indiana Lifeline Law needs expansion
Start Date: 2/14/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 2/14/2014
Entry Description
Imagine a Friday night on the campus of any Indiana college. Another week of classes has come to an end, and students are heading outside of the dorms in search of something to occupy their weekend. Several friends come together, and at first, the party is pretty low-key but as the evening progresses more and more people show up. One drink turns into one or two too many, and suddenly the fun evening takes a drastic turn. Someone has passed out; they aren’t breathing. What do you do?

This isn’t just a hypothetical situation.  This is a real-life scenario that unfortunately college students across the Hoosier state are all too familiar with. In 2013, the Indiana Collegiate Action Network surveyed 6,660 students from eleven Indiana colleges. Forty-one percent of student responders reported binge drinking in the last two weeks. This number included 39 percent of underage students. 

In 2012, the Indiana General Assembly passed what is known as the Lifeline Law. Under this law, someone at the party I described could call for help for their friend and not be punished for their own underage drinking provided that they are completely cooperative. 

This alone however is not enough. The law as it stands only provides immunity when reporting a medical emergency associated with alcohol consumption. Senate Bill (SB) 227, sponsored by State Representative Jud McMillin (R- Brookville) and cosponsored by me, expands this to provide immunity for certain alcohol offenses if the arrest or prosecution is due to the person reporting a medical emergency, being the victim of a sex offense or witnessing and reporting a crime. On Wednesday, this bill was heard in the House Courts and Criminal Code committee and passed unanimously.  

According to the United States Department of Justice, one out of every six American women has been the victim of a rape or an attempted rape. Of those women, 80 percent are younger than 30 years old. These are alarming statistics, and what’s more alarming is the fact that many sexual assaults are never reported, meaning that the numbers could very well be higher. Giving the victims of sexual assault immunity for alcohol-related offenses brings us closer to ensuring justice for these victims. 

This legislation also allows officials, such as first responders, police officers and firefighters, to administer an overdose prevention drug. As a former professional firefighter, I know the service that these men provide to our communities. They are in the business of protecting the vulnerable, and this will allow them to save even more lives. 

The Lifeline Law is a great piece of public policy and is something that makes me proud to be a Hoosier. It is a glowing example of the importance of not only working in a bipartisan fashion but also involving constituents in the process as well. 

The Lifeline Law built a solid foundation, however SB 227 will make some necessary updates. Moving forward, we must continue to educate our communities and tell everyone about the options that this law provides. By combining this legislation with local awareness, we can make this state is a better and safer place for everyone.

-30-

Contact Information:
Name: Courtney Scott
Phone: 317-234-9006
Email: Courtney.Scott@iga.in.gov
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    > Indiana Lifeline Law needs expansion
Entry Type:
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Entry Category:
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  • IN.gov Category:
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  • Agency Name
    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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