When somebody's life hangs in the balance, law enforcement could provide some grace. What the sponsor calls the “Lifeline” bill moved forward Wednesday, passing a House committee unanimously. It sets out provisions immunizing someone from underage drinking charges for calling 9-1-1 to help someone whose drinking is endangering his or her life.
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“I found myself … unconscious for hours after drinking,” University of Illinois sophomore Molly Bernstein, who is from Highland Park, testified to lawmakers about an episode two years ago. “I naively thought binge drinking was something only an alcoholic could do, and that alcohol poisoning was the result of bad alcohol – not an excess of alcohol.”
Bernstein says a friend's call to 9-1-1 may have saved her life, and the friend was slapped with an underage drinking citation for her trouble.
“I feel that it is wrong to punish people” for doing what her friend did, Bernstein said. “These kids are heroes. The truth is, high school and college kids are going to drink. It's a fact; it's inevitable.”
HB 1336 has passed the House Judiciary Criminal Law Committee.