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RELEASE: Sen. Merritt Proposes Change to Lifeline Law with Goal to Save More Lives
Start Date: 10/24/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 10/24/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description

STATEHOUSE (Oct. 24, 2013) — State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) is proposing a change to Indiana’s current Lifeline Law, which encourages young Hoosiers to call for help in alcohol-related emergencies. The change will broaden the law by offering immunity for certain alcohol-related offenses to Good Samaritans who seek help in all medical emergencies, not just those resulting from overconsumption of alcohol.

 

Merritt said the idea for the change resulted from discussions during his statewide tour promoting the Lifeline Law on college campuses this fall.

 

“As part of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, Attorney General Greg Zoeller and I visited numerous Indiana colleges to talk with students about how the Lifeline Law could help save lives in emergency situations, and how it could be improved,” said Merritt, who authored the Lifeline Law in 2012. “Expanding the Lifeline Law to provide protections for young Hoosiers who call for help during any type of emergency is truer to our mission of removing the barriers to making life-saving calls for help.”


Currently, Indiana’s Lifeline Law prevents minors who are under the influence of alcohol from being prosecuted for crimes such as minor possession or consumption if they request medical attention for another person suffering from alcohol-related complications.  Merritt’s proposed change would provide the same legal protections to minors who request help for someone suffering from any medical emergency, regardless of whether or not it was due to alcohol consumption. The legal immunity from alcohol-related charges still would only be available if the minors remain at the scene with the person needing medical assistance and cooperate with law enforcement.

 

“After visiting campuses with Senator Merritt listening to students’ questions, I believe the Lifeline Law can be refined to encompass other emergencies where seeking medical attention is imperative. We don’t encourage underage drinking, but the perceived fear of legal consequences should not create an obstacle to young people calling 911; so I am pleased to support Senator Merritt in his effort to carefully update the statute,” Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.

 

Merritt will introduce this change to the Lifeline Law during the Indiana General Assembly’s 2014 legislative session, which begins in January.

 

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Contact Information:
Name: Molly Johnson
Phone: 317-234-9133
Email: molly.johnson@iga.in.gov
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Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Government
  • Agency Name
    Senate Republican Caucus

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