Saturday, September 23, 2023

Judiciary Advances Three Bills to Full Senate

The Senate Judiciary Committee met Monday afternoon, advancing three bills to the the full Senate.

Senate Bill 431 received the most attention from the committee. The legislation relates generally to the Uniform Controlled Substances Act and specifically seeks to clarify the phrase “engaged in the illegal use of a controlled substance.”

As amended in committee, the bill spells out that “engaged in the illegal use of a controlled substance” means being in the physical presence of a person engaged in illegal drug use and participating in illegal drug use or knowingly facilitating the illegal drug use by the other person.

This bill would make it a felony to knowingly fail to render aid when in the presence of someone experiencing a drug overdose. One has to be in the physical presence of the person overdosing and be using or facilitating this drug use for the law to apply.

As spelled out in the legislation, if the person renders aid they would be immune from prosecution from possession and drug use charges. A dealer would not be immune from prosecution on intent to distribute under this law.

The committee also advanced Senate Bill 449 on Monday. This legislation would clarify that the Nonviolent Offense Parole Program is not available to offenders who are serving a sentence that runs concurrently or consecutively with a violent, excluded offense. The bill would further clarify that the program is not available to an offender who has been released under the program on a previous occasion.

Senate Bill 435 also advanced during the meeting. This legislation would allow the Division of Protective Services to award to a member his or her service weapon if retiring honorably with at least 10 years of service or if less than 10 years, when the member has been totally and physically disabled as a result of their service.

These bills now head to the floor for consideration by the full Senate.

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