Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 982

       S.D. 1




Honorable Donna Mercado Kim

President of the Senate

Twenty-Eighth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2015

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Judiciary and Labor, to which was referred S.B. No. 982 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish limited immunity for individuals who seek medical assistance for themselves or others experiencing a drug or alcohol overdose or other medical emergency.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Health; Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women; The Community Health Outreach Work Project; Americans for Safe Access, Big Island Chapter; The Drug Policy Action Group; The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii; and twelve individuals.


     Your Committee finds that Good Samaritan policies, also known as medical amnesty, are life-saving measures that are in the best interest of the public's health, safety, and welfare.  These policies facilitate responsible decision-making by shielding individuals from punishment when they seek medical attention during an emergency involving alcohol and controlled substances.  Your Committee further finds that if criminal punishment is intended to deter drug abuse, it clearly is too late to deter abuse when a person is already suffering from an overdose.  Good Samaritan policies should not be perceived as a "get out of jail free card" or a reward for illegal drug use.  Rather, they enable individuals to make potentially life-saving decisions promptly and without hesitation.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


     (1)  Deleting references to "other medical emergency" in association with "drug or alcohol overdose" for further clarity;


     (2)  Inserting an effective date of January 7, 2059, to encourage further discussion;


     (3)  Making a technical, nonsubstantive amendment for the purposes of clarity and consistency.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary and Labor that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 982, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 982, S.D. 1.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary and Labor,