Gov. Mitch Daniels recently signed into law one of the most noteworthy bills passed this session – the Indiana Lifeline Law. Senate Enrolled Act 274 protects a fellow student or Hoosier helping someone who needs medical attention due to alcohol consumption.
College students from Purdue University, Indiana University and the University of Southern Indiana brought the issue to the General Assembly’s attention. IU Student Government President Justin Kingsolver is from our local community and was very involved in working with other campuses to get this legislation enacted in Indiana.
This policy has already been implemented on the campuses of both IU and Purdue, where it has been well received by students and facility. Additionally, the policy has been proven effective in decreasing alcohol-related deaths on other school campuses. This legislation was critical because young people, when faced with a potentially life-threatening situation, might not seek medical help for fear of legal consequences. Now, young adults will not be penalized for potentially saving a life.
The Indiana Lifeline Law provides immunity for crimes of public intoxication, minor possession, consumption and transportation of alcohol for individuals who reveal themselves to law enforcement while seeking medical assistance for a person suffering from an alcohol-related emergency.
This law will not interfere with law enforcement’s ability to prosecute for other criminal offenses such as providing alcohol to a minor, operating a vehicle while intoxicated or possession of a controlled substance. The person requesting medical help must remain at the scene and cooperate with authorities in order to be granted immunity.
With the passage of this legislation, we are sending a message to Hoosiers that our top priority always is to provide help to those in need, regardless of circumstance. To the student government organizations from Purdue, IU and USI, I admire your tenacity to better our campuses and communities. Your efforts have helped to potentially save lives.