Senate passes expanded lifeline program

By Paige Clark
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – A bill to expand Indiana’s lifeline law passed the Senate Tuesday.

Senate Bill 227 – authored by Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis – would protect minors under the influence of alcohol or narcotics from criminal prosecution if they report a medical emergency or crime to authorities.

“When mistakes happen and lives are at risk, the focus must be on getting medical help,” Merritt said. “After talking with families and young Hoosiers, these are steps that could help save more lives.”

This bill is an expansion of the Lifeline law that passed in 2012, also authored by Merritt.  Several lawmakers said they believe there was a misunderstanding on who was protected under the current law.

Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington, said he likes the idea and law, but questioned if someone using drugs was protected.

Under the expansion, someone using drugs could be subject to lesser penalties if he or she reports a crime or medical emergency.

The bill passed 49-0 and will now move to the House for full consideration.

Paige Clark is a reporter for TheStatehiuseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

This post has been corrected from its original version to reflect that, under the bill, someone using drugs could be subject to lesser penalties if he or she reports a crime or medical emergency. Also, the spelling of lifeline was fixed in the headline. To see all our corrections, go to http://thestatehousefile.com/info/corrections/.
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