Tuesday the Senate voted on a “strike all” for Rivers’ Law. The law originally required a phone call to the parents of a child under the age of 21 if that child is arrested for a DUI or drug charges, but that language is now changing
The “strike all “was passed 51-1.
Rep. Andy Gipson the revision will create a mental health diversion program for young people, 21 and under in specified circuit court districts across the state. They will also receive notice that they have the right to contact their parents at the point in time they are released on bond.
“A person under the age of 21 who is released on bail shall be given notice as follows: The person is allowed to call a parent, guardian or custodian in addition to any other opportunity to telephone that has been afforded.”
Gipson said the law will no longer require law enforcement to contact the parents, but would allow for them the individual to do so. It also includes the availability for mental addiction treatment or abuse of drugs.
The story of how Rivers’ Law came to be is a tragic one. Rivers McGraw was back in school, after a successful stay in rehab, while in school he got into drinking again which lead to a DUI arrest, the fear of jail and disappointing his mother drove him to suicide.
Lauren McGraw, Rivers’ mother, jumped to action on the legislative floor, pushing for the bill that she wished would have been in place when her son was arrested.
“I know this won’t bring Rivers back,” said McGraw, “but it might can prevent this from happening to someone else.”
McGraw said had she known about the arrest, she could have gotten him the proper treatment, or found a rehab program for him.
The House originally passed the bill unanimously.