January 2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement, Part 1

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The first month of 2015 has been very busy in our movement. Death with dignity appeared both in the national media and in local outlets in no fewer than 14 states around the U.S. as legislators there introduced or announced their intent to introduce bills (a handful of others will come up in the next few weeks.)

We begin with highlights of media coverage, including related editorials, of death with dignity laws being introduced or discussed around the country, along with a summary of the current status in each state (daily updates are here). The sheer number of states in play and corresponding media stories are testimony to how far the movement has progressed in large part thanks to the courage of Brittany Maynard in publicly sharing her private decision to request medication allowed under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. The outpouring of support for Brittany and the work we do toward death with dignity policy reform throughout the U.S. has been truly incredible. The issue of having death with dignity as an end-of-life option is clearly important to Americans.

California

State Senators Bill Monning, D-Carmel, and Lois Wolk, D-Davis, introduced SB 168-End of Life Option Act at a press conference on January 21. Death with Dignity National Center has provided strategic support for the effort in California.

Colorado

Colorado State Reps. Lois Court, D-Denver, Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins, and Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, introduced a Death with Dignity bill on January 27.

Connecticut

SB 668-An Act Providing a Medical Option of Compassionate Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Adults has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Delaware

State Representative Paul Baumbach has announced on his Facebook page that he intends to introduce a Death with Dignity bill this session.

District of Columbia

D.C. Ward 3 Council representative Mary Cheh introduced B21-0031-Death with Dignity Act of 2015 on 1/14/2015.

Iowa

Eight State Representatives introduced HF 65-Iowa Death with Dignity Act on January 21.

Kansas

House Bill 215-Kansas Death with Dignity Act has been introduced in the Committee on Health and Human Services. We registered no local media coverage in the state.

Maryland

State Representative Del. Shane Pendergrass and Senator Young are developing companion bills resembling the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.

Missouri

State Representative Kimberly Gardner, D-St. Louis, has introduced House Bill 307, which was read for the second time on 1/8/2015. No hearings are scheduled and the bill is not on the House calendar. We registered no media coverage in the state.

New Jersey

State Senate is due to vote on AB2270-Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act this session. Governor Christie opposes the law.

New York

State Senators Savino, D-N Staten Island/S Brooklyn, and Hoylman, D-Manhattan, plan to introduce a bill modeled on the Oregon law in the New York legislature this session. State Representative Linda Rosenthal is sponsoring a similar bill in the Assembly.

Oklahoma

Representative Kouplen introduced HB 1673-Oklahoma Death with Dignity Act on January 30.

Wisconsin

Senator Fred Risser, D-Madison, and Representatives Dianne Hesselbein, D-Middleton, and Sondy Pope, D-Cross Plains, are introducing a Death with Dignity measure modeled after the Oregon measure. This will be the 7th time such a proposal will have been introduced in the past 20 years. Though the legislators aren’t confident the bill will pass this session, they believe “it’s a conversation lawmakers ought to have.”

Wyoming

A House Committee has tabled HB 119 Death with Dignity Act sponsored by State Representative Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, and recommended the proposed law be researched by an interim committee.

In addition to these new or renewed efforts to adopt death with dignity laws, we’ve been monitoring the media in states where death with dignity is an option.

New Mexico

An appeals court in New Mexico is currently hearing a challenge to a lower court decision that doctors could not be prosecuted under the state’s assisted suicide law.

Vermont

Legislators will be revisiting the state’s death with dignity law, adopted in 2013, to prevent changes removing many patient safeguards from going into effect next year. Meanwhile, the law is working as intended.

In Part 2 later this week, we’ll feature stories from the national media and think pieces, opinions, and op-eds. Going forward we’ll bring you a media roundup on a weekly basis. If you’d prefer to follow along as news develops, Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

California State Capitol image by Wayne Hsieh.

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center



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