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Lifeline Law expansion clears Senate committee

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Indiana’s Lifeline Law that provides immunity for minors who report dangerous underage intoxication would expand to cover reporting of any medical crisis, sexual assault or crime if a bill that cleared a Senate committee Wednesday is enacted.

Senate Bill 227  addresses gaps in the Lifeline Law, according to bill author Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis. Merritt said that in visits to college campuses around the state, students told him, for instance, that they weren’t sure if they or a victim would be immune from criminal prosecution if a drug overdose or other medical emergency was reported.

“Kids make mistakes,” Merritt told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Sometimes the law has to be gray, but it can’t have mental hurdles for these individuals who are under 21 years old to call 911 and save a life.”

The panel moved the bill to the full Senate by a 9-0 vote.

Indiana University Student Association vice president Christopher Kauffman testified that the Lifeline Law enacted in 2011 had saved lives on campus, including students who received medical assistance for near-lethal blood-alcohol contents. He recited instances in which emergency responders said 15 minutes was the difference between life and death.  

Students are made aware of the law during orientation and it’s reinforced institutionally, Kauffman said. Nonetheless, many students who encounter situations where they can help someone in crisis still ask themselves, “If I call, will I get in trouble?”

“Our ultimate goal is to make sure no more students die from their actions or those of their peers,” he told the committee.

By a vote of 6-3, the committee also advanced Senate Bill 59, which would permit guardians to file dissolution of marriage actions in some cases. Proponents, including Sen. Rod Bray, R-Martinsville, said the bill is needed in such instances as when both spouses have become incapacitated and no one may be allowed to file a divorce that is in the couple’s best interest.

Senators opposed to the bill, including Rep. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, objected because he said it could lead to financial interests trumping what’s in the best interests of a couple.

The committee, by a 9-0 vote, also advanced Merritt’s Senate Bill 305, which would reclassify synthetic drugs commonly referred to as “Spice” or bath salts as Schedule I controlled substances.



 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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