A new bill in the Michigan House could grant immunity to minors who drink underage.
A House Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to exempt minors from prosecution for underage drinking if they call 911 for medical help.
Spencer Huss is a senior at Marquette Senior High School, and he thinks the bill makes a lot of sense.
"A human life is a lot more important than just getting an MIP or something of that sort," said Huss.
That was a common opinion among high school seniors Wednesday when I asked them about the proposed legislation. An MIP--or Minor In Possession violation--is just a slap on the wrist. If the proposed legislation can save lives, these students are all for it.
"It's a positive if we can save someone's life. And if we can get lives saved without MIPs being distributed to students, and it can encourage them to call 911, I greatly support that," said Alexandra Kitchen, also a Marquette senior.
And that's the idea: if lives are saved, the proposed legislation could work.
In 2005, underage drinkers consumed an estimated 14.5 percent of the alcohol sold in Michigan.
"Underage drinking is a huge problem across the state and across the region. And we want our kids safe. We don't want mechanisms in place that in some way would encourage more abuse," said Jon Hartwig, MAPS Superintendent
The new bill does face some criticism. If it's as easy as a sick call to 911, some say underage drinkers might find a way to abuse the legislation.
"Some individuals would try to use it to their advantage. That's true with anything. But our officers are also well-versed at investigating situations and getting to the bottom of things, and I'm sure that if it is people just trying to get out of something, that we'll look at it closely," said Detective/Captain Gordon Warchock of the Marquette Police.
The vote was 13-0 for approval in Wednesday's House Committee vote. The full House is expected to vote on the bill soon. If approved, it will have to go through the State Senate before becoming a law.