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Nevada Legislature: Bill would remove underage drinking penalty in emergencies

Riley Snyder
Associated Press

Nevada lawmakers are reviewing a bill granting amnesty to underage drinkers who report a medical emergency.

Several members of the Nevada Youth Legislature presented SB 464 on Monday to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Current law makes it a misdemeanor crime for an underage person to possess or consume alcohol. The bill would remove criminal penalties for an underage person who has been drinking if they request emergency medical assistance.

The bill met widespread support from university students and police lobbyists who said the bill could help halt preventable deaths from alcohol poisoning. No one testified against the bill.

Kim Caipa testified from Las Vegas in favor of the bill and said it could have helped save the life of her 17-year-old son Brady Caipa, who died after binge drinking at a party in 2011.

University of Nevada, Reno student body president Caden Fabbi said a significant number of students already drink and that the bill could help protect university students who experiment with drugs and alcohol often for the first time in college.

“Any student who’s lived in a residence hall knows this is an issue,” he said. “Students who make that choice, legal or not, need to be safe about it.”

Nevada System of Higher Education lobbyist Constance Brooks said Nevada colleges are typically supportive in helping students deal with the effects of binge drinking.

“We within our system are pretty liberal when it comes to students facing those types of crises,” she said.

The committee took no action on the bill.