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Rivers’ Law passes the House unanimously

If your child were arrested for drug use or driving drunk, you’d want to know about it, so that maybe you could get them help.

That’s how Rivers’ Law, or House Bill 1089 was born. Tuesday, it passed the house unanimously.

Representative Andy Gipson emotionally rallied for the bill from the House floor.

“I was shocked to find that the law made no provision for the notification of parents of a minor child under the age of 21 whose been arrested for controlled substance violations or DUI,” said Gipson. “and out on bond to someone other than the parents. The parents ought to know, and that’s what this bill does.”

But this bill didn’t start with a lawmaker wanting to pass legislation. It started with a mother’s tragedy.

In October, Rivers McGraw had just been bailed out by friends after a DUI charge. This was his second DUI. He had just returned to school at Ole Miss after spending 90 days in a rehab program.

“He had done well, he had been working, and he wanted to return to school. I thought he deserved that,” said Lauren McGraw, his mother.

McGraw was unaware of her child’s second DUI arrest until after his death. She has fought for Rivers’ Law to insure that this doesn’t happen to another family. After a goodbye text to his mother after his release from jail, Rivers killed himself.

“That drives me, to make a change in this, not for a personal agenda,” said McGraw. “I know it won’t bring Rivers back. But it could stop another family from going through this.”

McGraw had been working with Gipson to get this bill passed.

“Mrs. McGraw met with us not once, but twice,” said Gipson. “She said she got a text from her son that said he just could not do this anymore. She jumped in her car and drove as fast as she can, but it was too late. He had bonded out, and he had taken his own life.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for further debate. News Mississippi will continue to follow this bill.

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