College students debate Good Samaritan law

If you see something, say something. That’s what state lawmakers expect college students to do if a minor consuming alcohol needs medical attention. But some students on the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology campus say they’re concerned minors being granted immunity for their good deed could lead to abuse of the law.

Members of the student senate met Monday night to discuss the proposed legislation and whether it would be of need on their college campus. A majority of the students agreed adoption of the Good Samaritan law could lead to more minors contacting law enforcement when a minor is in need of medical attention.  But others say as it’s written now, the law can be misinterpreted and abused.

“There’s also the issue of just what it states in the bill, saying that there has to be medical assistance of just assistance of that person overall but what is considered the limit for that?” asked student Michael Leopold.”Is that a phone call or helping all the way to the ambulance?”

The members of the student senate will re-convene Wednesday to read a resolution and decide whether to bring the issue before the Board of Regents next year.  The legislation failed in the state house last year but is expected to be re-introduced.

“I just think in the final analysis that the good outweighs the bad,” said Senator Craig Tieszen of Rapid City.  “There are ways that good Samaritan laws could be abused but I think the likelihood and the promise that good things could happen as a result of the Good Samaritan law warrants supporting it.”

If put in a tough situation — such as facing a $125 dollar ticket for consuming alcohol while a minor or possibly saving a friend’s life — some students say they’d pick up the phone to contact law enforcement.

Student body representatives say they hope more discussion and possibly the passage of this law will bring out the Good Samaritan in others.

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