Reporting Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Governor Corbett is expected to sign a bill on his desk that would encourage youths involved in underage drinking incidents to “do the right thing” when a friend experiences distress from too much alcohol.
It’s called the “Good Samaritan” bill (see previous story). Its sponsor, suburban Philadelphia Senate Republican John Rafferty, says it was crafted after a series of hearings, along with news reports, brought to light problems with binge drinking by young people, “That there were many instances where a participant was becoming violently ill, or going into some kind of catatonic state, and the other participants would be in panic, they didn’t want to get in trouble, so they would leave the person, or take the person back to his dorm room and leave him in a bed.”
In some scenarios, the person in distress would suffer permanent harm or death. Rafferty says the goal is to avoid those situations, “That one of the other participants there – if they call 911, give their name, and wait there at the scene until the first responders arrive — that they, the person or participant who made that phone call would be immune from prosecution for underage drinking or possession of alcohol.”
The bill awaiting the governor’s signature would provide that the first person to call 911 and report a problem — who gives their name and remains with the ill person — will be immune from underage drinking or alcohol possession charges. If they provided the alcohol, they would not be immune to that charge.
Reported by Harrisburg Bureau Chief Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio 1060