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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. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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