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Rivers McGraw DUI bill passes Senate

By Larrison Campell

Mississippi Today

The Senate approved legislation Tuesday which would require police to hold anyone between the ages of 18 and 21 arrested for driving under the influence or drug possession until his or her parents can collect them.

The legislation, which passed with only one vote opposed, was inspired by the death last fall of Rivers McGraw. The 20-year-old former Jackson Prep football champ committed suicide shortly after his friends bailed him out of jail following an arrest for driving under the influence.

Supporters of the legislation noted that such arrests can be a traumatic experience for young adults and said that having a parent or legal guardian there can offer stability.

“Hopefully this bill will allow us to save kids’ lives rather than churning them through the criminal justice process,” said Sen. Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport.

But the legality of the bill and the practicality of implementing it remain in question. The bill would require anyone issued a citation for misdemeanor drug violations to also be arrested and held. Currently the Mississippi Sheriffs Association opposes the bill.

Senators passed the bill with a reverse repealler, so despite their overwhelming support for the legislation, they will have to continue working on the bill.