In late 2010, while working as a Legislative Aide in the Michigan Senate, I engaged in extensive researched and wrote a paper entitled, "The Need for Medical Amnesty Legislation in Michigan". In the following months, I worked with several members of the Michigan Legislature to have a bill written, introduced, and passed, which would grant amnesty to minors who have been drinking when they contact emergency officials for immediate medical attention. Over the course of about a year from the time the bill was introduced, I educated Michigan Legislators about the issue, testified on behalf of the bill in both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, and gathered state-wide support from over a dozen organizations. I also spent a great deal of time engaging college student governments in the issue and helping them to get involved in the advocacy process. After months of hard work, the bill was passed and signed in to law on May 8, 2012.
My objective is to see a Medical Amnesty bill signed in to law in each state. The fear that minors have is not limited to Michigan. I have created an organization, The Medical Amnesty Initiative, which will work with both student leaders, and leaders in the state legislatures across the country, to have this policy introduced and passed. I am going to create a program which includes all the tools student leaders in each state will need to begin a successful Medical Amnesty campaign. I created countless publications, brochures, form letters, phone scripts, and advocacy strategies which were successful in Michigan, and will provide my resources to these groups. I can help them in every step of their journey—from finding the right legislator to introduce the bill, to preparing effective testimony, to educating those around them as to the issue, to uniting student voices in to a powerful force.
In addition to the powerful voice of students, I am also personally going to advocate for the passage of Medical Amnesty bills that have been introduced and will work to bring together national organizations who support this cause and realize how important it is for our young people to be making the right choice to call 911 without the fear of prosecution.
We have the opportunity to save lives with a simple bill that can eliminate a growing problem among our young adults.
UPDATE (2/1/13): New Hampshire, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Washington, Hawaii have all introduced Medical Amnesty legislation and we are working hard to advocate for these bills as they move through the legislative process!
UPDATE (4/12/13): Kentucky, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. have passed and are currently in effect! We are working to educate students in those states and are continuing to advocate for the remaining bills. We are optimistic that five more states will pass the bill within the next two months.