By Giacomo Bologna, Daily Staff Reporter
Published May 8, 2012
Those who seek medical attention while inebriated in the state of Michigan will not need to worry about receiving a Minor in Possession of alcohol citation starting June 1.
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House Bill 4393, signed into law today by Gov. Rick Snyder, implements a state-wide medical amnesty program and received broad bipartisan support.
The bill was originally passed by the house 105-4 , before going to the senate where — after adding a minor revision — it passed 38-0. After a 105-3 vote by the house, it moved to Snyder’s desk where it sat until it was signed today.
Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) said the bill — which he outwardly supported — will encourage people under the age of 21 to seek medical attention if needed.
“This is great news,” Irwin said. “I think it's going to potentially save some lives and certainly it's going to put public safety and people's health above punishment and I think that’s the right way to prioritize this particular environment.”
Irwin said similar bills have been proposed under Democratic leadership before, but they never passed in the senate.
“In the last four years, these same bills have come over from the house to the senate and have simply died over there,” he said.
Despite HB 4393 passing with broad support from both Democrats and Republicans, Irwin said this is no indication of further cooperation between the parties in the future.
“I don't know if it’s just partisanship on their part or if it’s the fact that there are new senators there now that have a different viewpoint, but the bottom line is they passed it and it was a good thing and we’ll move on to the next issue,” Irwin said.
LSA senior Aditya Sathi, who has been advocating for medical amnesty for several months on campus, said the bill’s supporters should be proud of its swift passage.
“I'm really happy we garnered bipartisan support for such a great issue,” Sathi said. “I believe that it’s a great accomplishment for all student governments, it’s a great accomplishment for students and the state of Michigan.”
When Sathi was the vice speaker of the Central Student Government assembly, he co-authored two resolutions in support of HB 4393. He also met with multiple student groups, spoke with several administrators and made the issue a vital part of his campaign for CSG president.
Sathi, now the treasurer of the Student Association of Michigan, has also worked with the Student Association of Michigan (SAM) to advocate for medical amnesty. In March, during SAM’s rally on the capitol steps in Lansing, Sathi spoke on behalf of the issue.
Sathi explained that SAM has been organizing students across the state to call their representatives and Snyder regarding HB 4393 in the past few weeks.
He said efforts by campus groups, such as CSG and Students for Sensible Drug Policy, as well as groups across the state such as SAM and other university-student governments, collectively helped to bring medical amnesty into law.
“Ultimately, all these efforts encompassed together … brought us to today — a great day in which now students can feel more safe,” Sathi said.