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Senate Passes IU Inspired “Lifeline Bill”

The bill would grant immunity to underage people who call an emergency service for an intoxicated friend.

IU ambulance

Photo: Indiana Public Media News

Under the bill, under-aged Hoosiers could call an emergency service for an intoxicated friend and not be charged.

An Indiana University created bill which has passed the state Senate could provide limited legal immunity to underage drinkers.

The so-called Indiana Lifeline Bill would grant immunity to those who call an ambulance or the authorities on behalf of a friend in need. The bill says the caller could not be charged with public intoxication, underage consumption transportation of alcoholic beverages, even if the police find cause for such charges. However, drunk drivers could not call an ambulance to get themselves out of legal hot water.

The bill is the brain-child of the Indiana University’s Student Association. Student body president Justin Kingsolver says the bill is needed to protect IU’s students, those who belong to Greek houses.

“A lot of the Greek presidents had had problems in the past where they had to make a decision, ‘Do I put this girl in bed and hope that tomorrow she wakes up, and nothing negative happens when she’s too drunk right now, or do I make the right decision and call an ambulance?’” Kingsolver says. “And nine times out of ten, those Greek presidents weren’t calling the ambulance.”

The bill passed unanimously out of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate. Though the Indiana House must still approve it, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says he supports the bill and is confident of its eventual signing.

“I’m very optimistic that the student leadership that have stepped up and championed the bill will show both the legislators and the people of Indiana that the student voices are to be heard, and hopefully they will succeed in passing this bill and can let all the students at IU know that their voices are being heard,” he says.

Kingsolver has been promised the House will hold a hearing on the bill within the next two weeks.

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