By Conner Board, @ConnerBoard
CARSON CITY, Nev. – Underage drinking among high school and college students is a real problem in Nevada. Senate Bill 464 is proposing to help underage people who are in potentially dangerous situations. The bill, heard before the Assembly and Senate Judiciary on Monday, would exempt a minor who has been drinking from criminal liability if he or she is seeking medical assistance.
The Nevada Youth Legislature presented the bill calling it a “life saving piece of legislation”.
Under SB 464, not all underage people at a party would be free of criminal charges if medical assistance is requested. Only the person who makes the emergency call will be exempt from legal charges, as well as the person who is in need of medical assistance.
“We can’t wave a wand and make underage drinking stop,” said Chair of the Nevada Youth Legislature Rose Asaf. “But we can enact policy that keeps underage drinkers and any minors safe.”
Also known as “Brady’s Bill”, SB 464 was drafted in memory of Brady Caipa, a student at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas who died after binge drinking at a party his senior year. Upon getting sick, Caipa’s friends took him to a bathroom where he was left to sleep for the night, and was found dead the next morning.
“We fight for it because if this bill prevents even one more mother from answering her door to police officers reporting that their child is dead, then it is worthwhile,” said Kimberly Caipa, Brady’s mom.
Many University of Nevada, Reno students and friends of Brady attended the hearing.
“It’s nice to have a little light come with something that has been so hard for the entire Gorman community,” said UNR student and friend of Brady, Jordan Eglet. “This is a great bill to have a little bit of justice out of this whole situation and to help other students so that they don’t fall into the same situation.”
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Public Defenders Office also expressed support for SB 464.
“A number of studies have shown that amnesty programs will increase the number of students who choose to reach out for emergency services during a case of suspected alcohol poisoning or overdose,” said Stacy Woodbury of the Nevada State Medical Association.
“We cannot afford to fear our police officers,” said UNR freshman Cameron Hughes.
No one spoke in opposition of SB 464 at the hearing.
Twenty-three states, including California, Oregon, Michigan, and Indiana, have adopted similar legislation. A similar bill has also been proposed in the current session of the Arizona legislature.
If you have an opinion on this bill you are encouraged to reach out to your legislator. Hearing times and more information can be found at http://www.leg.state.nv.us/. To read the full text of the bill, click here.
Categories: 2015 Legislature