ND House Says Yes To Bill Granting Immunity To Those Reporting Drug Overdoses

In the 2013 session Rep. Marie Strinden – a Democrat from Grand Forks – introduced HB1412 which would have given immunity from prosecution to those reporting an overdose of alcohol. Obviously, this was aimed at underage drinkers who might not take a friend to the hospital out of fear of legal consequences. The House actually passed Strinden’s bill unanimously, but when the Senate approved it they amended it to include drug overdoses, which proved a bridge too far for the House. The amended bill failed 34-49.

Rep. Rick Becker, a Republican of Bismarck, gave what I thought was a particularly eloquent speech in favor of the bill on the House floor before it failed.

This session similar legislation – introduced by Senator Howard Anderson (R-Turtle Lake) and co-sponsored in the House by Becker – has done much better.

Here’s what SB2070 does:

sb2070

Interestingly, the legislation does not address alcohol overdoses specifically, which is strange as it seemed the House found that much more palatable than immunity for drug overdoses in 2013, but whatever.

This is a move in the right direction. We shouldn’t be prioritizing arrests for petty drug crimes over people’s lives. The bill passed the House with flying colors on a 92-1 vote, with Rep. Vernon Laning (R-Bismarck) casting the only “no” vote.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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