Introduced Version Senate Bill 419 History

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Senate Bill No. 419

(By Senators Stollings, Laird, Boley, M. Hall, Kirkendoll, Miller, Palumbo, Plymale, Prezioso, Tucker, Walters, Yost, Jenkins, Cookman, Barnes and Fitzsimmons)


[Introduced January 23, 2014; referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]



A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §16-46-1, §16-46-2 and §16-46-3, all relating to creating a Good Samaritan policy for certain offenses.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §16-46-1, §16-46-2 and §16-46-3, all to read as follows:


§16-46-1. Legislative findings.

    (a) The Legislature finds that good samaritan policies encourage citizens to seek potentially life-saving medical assistance for themselves or others without worry of disciplinary or punitive action in cases of overdose.

§16-46-2. Definitions.

    As used in this section:

    (1) "Overdose" means an acute condition including, but not limited to, physical illness, coma, mania, hysteria or death, which is the result of the consumption or use of a controlled substance or alcohol.

    (2) "Medical Assistance" means the professional services provided to a person experiencing an overdose by a health care professional licensed, registered or certified under chapter thirty or chapter sixteen of this code, acting within his or her lawful scope of practice.

§16-46-3. Medical amnesty.

    (a) A person who, in good faith and in a timely manner, seeks medical assistance for someone or for himself or herself who is experiencing an overdose may not be cited, arrested, or prosecuted for a violation of:

    (1) §60-3-9. Drinking in public places; possessing of alcoholic liquor;

    (2) §60-3-22a. Enabling consumption of alcohol by someone under age twenty-one.

    (3) §60A-4-401 (c) and (d). Delivering or possessing a controlled substance.

    (4) §60A-4-403a. Prohibiting the possession or selling of illegal drug paraphernalia;

    (5) §60A-4-406. Distributing to persons under the age of eighteen by persons over the age of twenty-one; distributing by persons eighteen or over in or on, or within one thousand feet of, school or college.

    (b) The person described in subsection (a), if physically capable shall:

    (1) Provide his or her own full name if requested by emergency medical assistance personnel or law-enforcement officers;

    (2) Provide any other relevant information requested by the emergency medical assistance personnel or law-enforcement officer that is known to such person;

    (3) Remain with the individual who reasonably appears to be in need of medical assistance due to an overdose until professional emergency medical assistance is provided; and

    (4) Cooperates with emergency medical assistance personnel and law-enforcement officers.

    (c) A person who acts pursuant to subsection (a) of this section may not be subject to any sanction for a violation of a condition of pretrial release, probation, furlough, or parole.

    (d) The act of seeking medical assistance for or by someone who is experiencing an overdose shall be considered a mitigating circumstance at sentencing for a violation of any other offense.

    (e) The immunity provisions of this section apply only to the use and derivative use of evidence gained as a proximate result of the person's seeking medical assistance for an overdose, and do not preclude prosecution of the person on the basis of evidence obtained from an independent source.

    (f) Except in cases of reckless or intentional misconduct, law enforcement is immune from liability for citing or arresting a person who is later determined to qualify for immunity under this section.

    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide amnesty from certain offenses for a person who seeks health care for someone or for himself or herself who is experiencing an overdose.

    This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.

    This bill is recommended for passage during the 2014 legislative session by the Joint Committee on Health.

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