Lifeline Law Expansion Passes Ind. House 96-0; McMillin, Frye Co-Sponsors
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – A bill that would expand Indiana’s “Lifeline Law” appears destined for the governor’s desk.
Last year, state lawmakers passed the law which provides immunity for crimes public intoxication, minor possession, consumption, and transportation of alcohol when an individual calls 911 to report an alcohol-related medical emergency. To receive immunity, students must stay at the scene until help arrives and cooperate with authorities.
This year, Senate Bill 227 authored by State Senator Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) would broaden the protections to people under 21 who call to report sexual assaults and drug overdoses. It passed the Senate on January 28 on a 49-0 vote, then on Wednesday it cleared the House with 96-0 support. The legislation has been referred back to the Senate.
State representatives Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) and Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) co-sponsored SB 227 in the House.
“The Lifeline Law was a great first step to saving lives and encouraging individuals to report potentially life-threatening situations,” said Rep. McMillin. “While I don’t condone underage drinking or any illegal activity, unfortunately, these situations do occur, so we don’t want any barriers in place to discourage individuals from calling 911 when it might save a life.”
A second possible life-saving aspect of SB 227 would allow first responders, police officers, firefighters, and other emergency medical professionals to administer the drug Naloxone or other like it. Naloxone is used to counter the effects of overdosing on opiates, for example heroin. Indiana Emergency Medical Services Commission would be responsible for the distribution, use, training and administration of the overdose prevention drug.
Frye, a former firefighter himself, called the overdose drug aspect a necessary update to the Lifeline Law.
“When you’re trained as a firefighter or a police officer, you are taught to put the public’s safety first and protect the most vulnerable. When you arrive on the scene and someone has clearly overdosed but you are unable to help them, that goes against every instinct that you have. This change to our current law will allow our public safety officers more freedom to complete their jobs to the best of the abilities,” Frye said.
Yet another clause in SB 227 would require a number of state studies related to sexual or domestic violence.
If the bill earns Governor Mike Pence’s signature, it will go into effect on July 1, 2014.