H.R. 5048, Good Samaritan Assessment Act of 2016

H.R. 5048

Good Samaritan Assessment Act of 2016

Committee
Judiciary

Date
May 10, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Robert Goad

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, May 10, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 5048, the Good Samaritan Assessment Act, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 5048 was introduced on April 26, 2016 by Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH), and was referred to the Committee on Judiciary, which ordered the bill reported, by voice vote, on April 27, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 5048 directs the GAO to study state and local Good Samaritan laws that protect caregivers, law enforcement personnel, and first responders who administer opioid overdose reversal drugs or devices, as well as those who contact emergency service providers in response to an overdose, from civil or criminal liability.

Background

A Good Samaritan law offers legal protection to people who give reasonable assistance to those who are, or who they believe to be, injured, ill, of otherwise incapacitated. These laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but generally they prevent an individual who has voluntarily helped a victim in distress from being successfully sued or prosecuted for wrongdoing.  Their purpose is to keep people from being reluctant to help an individual in need for fear of legal repercussions.

Currently, 35 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some form of a Good Samaritan or 911 drug immunity law. These laws generally provide immunity from supervision violations and drug possession offenses when a person who is either experiencing or observing an opiate-related overdose calls 911 for assistance.[1]

According to Chairman Goodlatte, “Given the recent proliferation of these laws at the state level, and Congress’s desire and duty to address the opioid epidemic, it is fitting that we assess how the various Good Samaritan laws work to protect our citizens and help save lives.”[2]

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[1] See http://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/drug-overdose-immunity-good-samaritan-laws.aspx
[2] See Goodlatte Statement at Markup of the “Good Samaritan Assessment Act”

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate is currently unavailable.

 

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Robert Goad with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1831.