Supporters of a proposal to expand Maine's Good Samaritan law regarding drug overdoses will be passing out purple ribbons for supporters to wear Thursday during the governor's State of the State address.
Supporters, including people with substance use disorder and others touched by overdose deaths, testified Wednesday before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.
Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck opposed the proposal, saying the bill is overly broad and could bring unintended consequences.
Maine is one of 47 states with Good Samaritan laws that give immunity to a person who calls 911 at the scene of an overdose and protects the person who overdosed from being charged or prosecuted.
The bill sponsored by Sen. Chloe Maxmin, D-Lincoln, would expand the law to others present at the scene, exempting them from arrest or prosecution for non-violent offenses or probation and bail violations. In the case of some crimes, however, police could investigate and bring charges later.
“When someone is dying, no one is going to think, ‘Am I covered by the Good Samaritan law as it’s currently written?’ This law needs to be expanded to save lives," Maxmin said.