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Bill On Lifeline Law And Sexual Assault Heads To Governor

The bill includes an expansion of the Lifeline law and seeks to study Indiana's high rate of sexual assault.

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Photo: Arvind Grover (Flickr)

The changes to the Lifeline law seek to expand the protections to minors who have been drinking and are seeking medical attention for their friends.

Legislation expanding the state’s Lifeline law and creating a comprehensive study of Indiana’s sexual assault problem is headed to the governor.

The Senate approved the bill today.

The Lifeline bill provided immunity to drunk minors from underage drinking charges if they sought medical attention for another drunk minor.

The expansion provides the same immunity if underage drinkers seek medical or police help for any reason.

The House added to the bill a comprehensive sexual assault study.  But after the House sent the bill back to the Senate, lawmakers raised concerns about the cost of that study.

Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, says that’s now been dealt with.

“The Pence administration has promised and we will find the 60 thousand dollars for that study, be it at Criminal Justice Institute or possibly domestic violence monies or somewhere in the private sector,” he says.

Rep. Christina Hale, D-Indianapolis, who wrote the language creating the study, says the state can’t wait any longer before addressing  the problem.

“One in six Indiana girls are raped or sexually assaulted by the time they’re in high school,” she says. “I can only imagine what we would do if one in six Indiana girls disappeared or contracted some mysterious disease.”

Hale says the study will hopefully give Indiana the information it needs to begin solving its sexual assault crisis.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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