09-22-2016 Good Samaritan Law expansion; PARKing Day a success; Coloma Twp. gets legal opinion; new

Good Samaritan Law expansion should be signed by the Governor soon

“We will make sure that Mason’s legacy will not be in his death but in the lives that are

saved because  of this legislation,” says Pscholka

PARKING DAY FUN IN DOWNTOWN WATERVLIET… The down-town of Watervliet was bustling Friday evening as city business-es participated in PARKing Day. In spite of MDOT’s refus-al to issue permits for the planned event, merchants, city residents, and visitors alike took part. Here, Jorden Parker of Wightman & Associates speaks with an interested party about Watervliet, its strengths, and its weaknesses.

PARKING DAY FUN IN DOWNTOWN WATERVLIET… The downtown of Watervliet was bustling Friday evening as city businesses participated in PARKing Day. In spite of MDOT’s refusal to issue permits for the planned event, merchants, city residents, and visitors alike took part. Here, Jorden Parker of Wightman & Associates speaks with an interested party about Watervliet, its strengths, and its weaknesses.


By Annette Christie

The Michigan State House of Representatives took action today, September 20, 2016, to pass an expansion to the current Good Samaritan Law. The law is linked to Mason Mizwicki of Watervliet.     Representative Al Pscholka worked with Watervliet’s Lori Mizwicki to pass legislation that would provide protection for an individual under the age of 21, calling 911 for help when someone needed medical attention due to prescription drug use.  The effort was driven by Mizwicki with Pscholka due to the New Year’s Eve death of her 16 year-old son Mason.  He died from a prescription drug overdose while other teenagers who were present, did not call for help for fear of getting in trouble.  The expansion of the law that was passed in December of 2015 would remove the age limit and would be for anyone suffering from an overdose of all controlled substances.  The bi-partisan House Bill 5649 was introduced by Pscholka and Representative Sam Singh of East Lansing.  In the first go around in the House, it passed almost unanimously, one representative voted no.  When presented before the Senate, a few minor tweaks were made before approval.   Pscholka said that since his original bill was passed, it has been effective.  “This is a common sense piece of legislation.  We know that this has saved lives,” Pscholka stated.  Rep. Singh adds, “Research shows that the most common reason for not seeking medical attention for a drug overdose is fear of police involvement or arrest.  The current law has been effective and appreciated by law enforcement, the courts and certainly by individuals struggling with addiction. We now have the opportunity to expand the law to help save someone’s life regardless of age or substance.”  Pscholka said that the original bill was just a starting point motivated by Mason’s story.  However, even at the time of its original introduction, some Representatives thought that it did not go far enough.  Singh was one of those individuals and thus joined Pscholka on the expansion.  Pscholka said they wanted to take the legislation in steps and worked with law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges to ensure that they were working in the right direction for all.  Now that it has been approved by the House, it is expected to be signed by the Governor within days.   Pscholka was pleased with the results of the House vote, 105 -1 in favor.  “There is only a handful of bills that we vote on that are literally a matter of life and death, and this was certainly one of them,” Pscholka said adding, “we will make sure that Mason’s legacy will not be in his death but in the lives that are saved because of this legislation.”   While a strong supporter and advocate for the passage of the original bill and this expansion, Lori Mizwicki has always said that passage of the law was not intended to or should be seen as condoning prescription drug, heroin, or any other kind of drug use, but rather giving kids a chance to help their friend if they are in trouble.   The numbers of drug overdose deaths in Michigan have been steadily increasing and kill more of our teens than traffic accidents.  Thirty-seven other states have enacted some form of Good Samaritan legislation.

Coloma Township Board gets legal opinion on Court ruling

By Annette Christie

Coloma Township Attorney Scott Dienes was on hand at their September 14 meeting to inform the township’s board of the recent Michigan Court of Appeals ruling and what it means.  Coloma Township sued Berrien County over the use of a training facility/shooting range located on Angling Road in the township.   Dienes said that he was pleased to announce that the Township won the litigation against