TAMPA — The Board of Governors on Thursday recognized Rep. David Silvers as its 2019 State University System Student Champion.
Silvers, who represents central Palm Beach County, was sponsor of House Bill 595, which grants amnesty to people who seek medical help on behalf of someone experiencing alcohol poisoning, even if they are drinking underage. Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill Friday.
“The Board of Governors and the Florida Student Association made this a priority because it has the potential to save lives,” said Ned Lautenbach, chair of the Board of Governors. “We are pleased for this opportunity to show our appreciation.”
“It was a great honor to sponsor this legislation and to make the case to my colleagues in the Legislature why this bill makes sense,” said Rep. David Silvers. “Our next big push is to promote this bill and make sure every student knows that — if they suspect alcohol poisoning — there’s absolutely no reason not to call 911.”
Chair Ned Lautenbach in January 2018 created the Board’s Drugs, Alcohol and Mental Health Taskforce, intensifying the Board’s focus on student safety and well-being. The effort has resulted in a system-wide focus on how to support healthy habits and reduce harmful behaviors, such as binge drinking. Roughly 96% of students report using alcohol and 20% report having at least five alcoholic drinks in one sitting within the past two weeks, according to the National College Health Assessment. Further, the number of alcohol-related deaths among 18 to 24-year-olds is increasing nationally, from 207 in 1998 to 891 in 2014, according to the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
“The Good Samaritan Law was an excellent piece of legislation, but it didn’t address a key component — which was underage drinking,” said Senator Jeff Brandes. “No parent should ever have to experience the heartbreak of learning their child has died of alcohol poisoning.”
“If this bill saves even one life, it will have been worth it,” said Jalisa White, outgoing Florida Student Association chair. “Thank you to Rep. David Silvers for making students your priority.”
Facts about the State University System of Florida and the Board of Governors
The State University System of Florida is a constitutional body led by the 17-member Board of Governors. The system has 12 universities and more than 345,000 students, making it the second-largest public university system in the nation. Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and managing the system’s coordination and operation. The Board appoints a Chancellor who serves as the system’s chief executive. For more, visit flbog.edu, think-florida.org,or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.