On Monday, the Nevada Legislature failed to vote on a bill that could help save the lives of many high school and college students in the coming years.
Senate Bill 464, or “Brady’s Bill,” was brought up in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and encourages minors to call for assistance when intoxicated. If passed, the bill would give immunity to persons under 21 for the consumption or possession of alcohol when calling for medical assistance for either a friend or for themselves.
According to reports, there was no spoken opposition to the bill, and it received spoken support from the Associated Students of the University of Nevada president-elect Caden Fabbi, members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department among others. Yet, the legislature did not take the necessary step to enact the bill, which could have an immeasurably positive impact on students.
The bill, which is named after Brady Caipa, a senior at Bishop Gorman High School who died in October 2011 due to an alcohol-related incident, is something that could have an incredible impact on the lives of both college and high school students.
By embracing what the bill offers, the results would become almost immediate right here at the University of Nevada, Reno. Since it is commonly known among students that the current residence hall policies in place are overbearing, the bill would offer students help without penalty.
The dorm dilemma is evidenced by the fact that many students have tried to avoid legal trouble by hiding outside of their residence hall or putting themselves in risky situations in order to avoid citations. With the help of what the new bill offers, students could help to save their friends and possibly themselves from losing their lives too soon.
Additionally, SB 464 was not written by someone who is naive about underage drinking, but rather understands the reality of life as a young adult. Senior Rose Asaf of Las Vegas High School was responsible for that portion of the bill and was recently quoted in a Reno Gazette-Journal article where she pointed out that while underage drinking does happen, this bill would eliminate the risk of calling in for help.
Also according to the article, Caipa’s mother Kim talked about her son becoming increasingly intoxicated throughout that evening in October, falling, hitting his head and getting taken to the bathroom by his friends. This is a familiar scenario to not only students at UNR but also in hundreds of other institutions around the country and is one that can be improved. Moreover, if students are made aware that this legislation exists, then the amount of unnecessary deaths due to inaction could potentially fall dramatically.
However, as with any law, it should be noted that the bill does have the chance of being exploited. While it does seem highly illogical for a minor to drink more in order to go to the hospital and avoid the law, it opens up the possibility of students lying and using their “excessive intoxication” as an excuse to bypass interactions with law enforcement.
Nonetheless, headway has already been made for this act at UNR. Current ASUN senator for the College of Liberal Arts Quinn Jonas wrote the medical amnesty resolution and had it passed at the university by the student government earlier this year. Now it is up to the legislature in Carson City to give it the green light.
However, based on its actions on Monday it is clear that the legislature must continue to receive pressure from those whom the bill would most dramatically affect. Students cannot let this bill sit stagnant in committee; if it does, students will continue to be harmed while those who represent them push their well-being aside. Voice your support of the bill on social media if you believe in it by using the hashtag #SB464, because the passage of this bill is integral to the future safety of students around Nevada and will help to mitigate tragedies like the one that befell the Caipa family that fateful October evening.
The Nevada Sagebrush editorial staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.