Maine’s Good Samaritan law challenged by LD 714

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 5:22 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Last year, the nation’s strongest Good Samaritan Law was passed by the Maine Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills.

However, a public hearing was held on LD 714, which would expand the list of crimes that do not qualify for immunity under the law, challenging the current Good Samaritan Law.

Pills(USAF / Abbey Rieves)

If an individual is experiencing an overdose, the person who called 911 and persons at the medical emergency are protected by the Good Samaritan Law and granted immunity from being charged with most crimes, including drug crimes.

Advocates of the current law say it provides protection for people so when they do the right thing, there will be no repercussions.

They say it also saves lives and provides second chances.

Supporters of LD 714 say some crimes, like drug trafficking, should be prosecuted.

Brewer PD’s Deputy chief, Christopher Martin spoke during the hearing supporting the bill but left lawmakers with questions.

“Why would we want to protect traffickers of fentanyl?” Martin asked. “Why would we want to protect people who are furnishing fentanyl? Why would we want to protect people who are unlawfully possessing firearms that puts everyone at risk?”

Democratic Rep. Lydia Crafts joined the public hearing via Zoom.

She expressed personal reasoning as to why the Good Samaritan Law means a lot to her and her family. She believes is this bill were to pass, Maine would be going in the wrong direction.

“We cannot undo our accomplishments from last year,” said Crafts. “We must continue to fight for saving lives and providing Mainers the opportunity to recover out loud. I ask that you give Mainers with substance use disorder a chance at survival and please oppose LD 714.”

Besides drug trafficking, the bill would also add possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, and unlawfully furnishing drugs to the list of crimes that would not qualify for immunity.