Samaritan’ reviewed possible veto override

Following a four-week battle, the Good Samaritan Bill will be resubmitted to the Student Government Senate tonight.

The policy created to provide protection to students who call for help in a case of an alcohol or drug-related medical emergency, was originally shelved during its first introduction to the Senate because of concerns about potential long-term problems it may cause such as drug and alcohol abuse.

A revised version of the amnesty bill passed 17-to-1 on Oct. 22; however, the bill, authored by At-Large Senator Michael Blunk, was then vetoed by SGA President Sam Dike.

"The current form is flawed. You have to read into policy sentences," Dike said. "You need to look at the policy and (the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention policy) and see if it really fits with the mission.

Dike said that, instead of waiting until the point of an alcohol and drug-related emergency, the Senate should consider working toward a policy that would prevent drug and alcohol abuse in general.

"This is a very reactive bill. We should have a policy that prevents students from getting to that point, not waiting until they do," Dike said.

Tonight the Good Samaritan policy must meet a two-thirds majority vote in order to overturn the presidential veto. If the Senate fails to override the veto, Blunk plans to introduce a newly-revised version at the next senate meeting.

"The bill will have a harder time passing the Senate the second time around," Dike said. "A lot of senators agree this is not a good policy."

In addition to his veto, Dike suggested ways to improve the policy to ensure it adequately accomplishes its goals as he sees them. Those suggestions included more concrete explanations of how goals will be met and clarification about what stipulates a drug-related medical emergency.

"I purposely left those open to consider those grey areas," Blunk said. "As for what qualifies as a medical emergency, should be decided by the paramedics."

Since the veto, Blunk said he has talked with various students and collaborated with Dean of Students William Munson to determine which areas of the policy he feels need to be changed.

"I have kept what (Dike) suggested in mind, but (the changes) will basically be going off what Dr. Munson and I discuss, because his office will be the most affected by the policy," Blunk said.

In addition to the resubmission of the Good Samaritan Policy, Assistant Vice President of University Services Emily Messa and Parking and Transportation Director Bob Browand will hold a public forum discussing the University’s current state of public transportation and future plans. Topics will include the shuttle system, Metro usage on and around campus, parking garages and transportation stations.

The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Bluebonnet Room, University Center.

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