Death with Dignity Around the U.S.

Updated as of January 26, 2015

Bills which seek to improve end-of-life care have been introduced in state legislatures around the country, and state legislators look to the Oregon Death with Dignity Act as a guide for good reason. Oregon's law has been in effect since 1997, and the years of data show the law is safe and utilized the way it's intended with no evidence of a slippery slope for vulnerable Oregonians. Our win in Washington in 2008 and our 2013 victory in Vermont demonstrate this solid legislation stands the test of time and serves as the model for all states.

While many bills are drafted each year, the majority fail. Some consider it a failure most bills don't end up becoming law, but we view these bills as a testament to the growing support of the Death with Dignity movement, the will of the public, and the strength of the Oregon, Washington, and Vermont model legislation. This past fall we have been working in several states, traveling from the Death with Dignity National Center's home offices in Portland, Oregon, to meet with legislators, legislative staffers, volunteers, patients, family members, and physicians. All this work was conducted in anticipation of a wildly successful legislative season in every region of the country. After all, with public support hovering at 75 percent and 16 years of data demonstrating Death with Dignity laws work as intended with no abuse, there is no rational reason for a legislator to oppose Death with Dignity policy reform.

Below is a summary of the status of current Death with Dignity-related legislation in the US and what we see coming in the months ahead as the 2015 legislative session progresses. We update the information on this page daily based on news reports and our own activities.

CALIFORNIA
Bill Number SB 128
Bill title End of Life Option Act
Summary Authorizes adults meeting certain qualifications and suffering from terminal illness to request medications for the purpose of ending their life.
Date Introduced 1/21/2015
Latest update State Senators Bill Monning, D-Carmel, and Lois Wolk, D-Davis, will introduce a bill at a press conference on January 21 (watch the livestream at 1:30 pm Pacific here). Death with Dignity National Center has provided strategic support for the effort in California. There is tremendous momentum in the state, and much of the country's focus on the Death with Dignity movement will shift here this year.

COLORADO
Bill Number TBD
Bill title TBD
Summary TBD
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update Colorado State Reps. Lois Court, D-Denver, and Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins, are poised to introduce a Death with Dignity bill this week. While Colorado has always been a state with great potential for policy reform through the ballot initiative process, the legislature looks like it will try to achieve policy reform in the Statehouse. Colorado is a critical state in the West, and we will be anxiously watching the state to see how quickly momentum builds. News reports out of the state claim Coloradans support death with dignity whereas the legislature is split on the issue.

CONNECTICUT
Bill Number Bill 668
Bill title An Act Providing a Medical Option of Compassionate Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Adults
Summary Introduces legislation similar to the Oregon, Washington, and Vermont Death with Dignity laws.
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update The bill was introduced and heard in committee but did not advance during the 2014 session. The debate in the state continues, however. Three State Senators and 13 Representatives will be introducing a bill this session; the momentum looks extremely positive.

DELAWARE
Bill Number TBD
Bill title TBD
Summary TBD
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update State Representative Paul Baumbach has announced he intends to introduce a Death with Dignity bill this session.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Bill Number TBD
Bill title TBD
Summary TBD
Date Introduced 1/14/2015
Latest update D.C. Ward 3 Council representative Mary Cheh has introduced a Death with Dignity Act. We'll be watching closely as the bill goes through the Council.

HAWAII
Bill Number TBD
Bill title TBD
Summary TBD
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update A bill was debated during the 2013 session but did not move forward. Legislators are again considering Nevada an Oregon-style Death with Dignity bill for this year's session. Our leadership team has worked in this state to help build a foundation for success.

IOWA
Bill Number TBD
Bill title TBD
Summary TBD
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update Iowans will likely see a bill introduced in their state legislatures this year. Though the likelihood for success is not high, Iowa was the 4th state in the nation to recognize marriage equality and has a long history of civil rights firsts.

KANSAS
Bill Number TBD
Bill title TBD
Summary TBD
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update A bill was under consideration in the last session, and we anticipate a bill will be introduced again this year. Likelihood for success is not high, but the legislative process is never predictable.

MARYLAND
Bill Number TBD
Bill title Richard E. Israel - Death with Dignity Bill
Summary TBD
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update State Senator Young has announced he is developing and will promote later this year a bill resembling the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, named the Richard E. Israel - Death with Dignity Bill after a former Maryland Assistant Attorney General, Alderman with degenerative Parkinson's Disease, and advocate for the terminally ill to be provided options in how they die. Governor-elect Hogan has expressed his opposition to such legislation.

MASSACHUSETTS
Bill Number TBD
Bill title TBD
Summary TBD
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update After the narrow loss on the 2012 ballot, a bill was heard in committee in the 2013 session but did not move forward. Massachusetts will have a bill this year, but the most likely route to policy reform may be through the ballot. Unfortunately, a Death with Dignity bill cannot return to the Massachusetts ballot until 2018 because of the Commonwealth's rules on the initiative process.

MISSOURI
Bill Number HB 307
Bill title Missouri Death With Dignity Act
Summary Establishes the Missouri Death With Dignity Act to allow patients with terminal disease to end their life in a humane and dignified manner.
Date Introduced 1/7/2015
Latest update State Representative Gardner 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.

NEVADA
Bill Number TBD
Bill title TBD
Summary TBD
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update Last fall we worked with Nevada legislators to help build a foundation for success as they consider an Oregon-style Death with Dignity bill for this year's session.

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Bill Number TBD
Bill title TBD
Summary TBD
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update Following a nay vote in the State House in 2014, New Hampshire legislators will be at it again this session. We look forward to significant policy reform momentum in the Granite State.

NEW JERSEY
Bill Number Assembly Bill 2270
Bill title Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act
Summary Introduces legislation similar to the Oregon, Washington, and Vermont Death with Dignity laws.
Date Introduced 1/14/2014 in the Senate, 2/6/2014 in the Assembly.
Latest update On 11/13/2014 the Assembly voted 41-31 in favor of the bill. A vote in the Senate is imminent. Governor Chris Christie has promised to veto the bill if it passes.

NEW YORK
Bill Number TBD
Bill title TBD
Summary TBD
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update 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 by the end of the month. While it faces an uphill battle, the debates in New York will help catalyze the momentum for Death with Dignity in the East Coast.

PENNSYLVANIA
Bill Number TBD
Bill title TBD
Summary TBD
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update State Representative Rozzi, D-Berks, introduced a bill, based on the Oregon law, in October 2014. Legislators there will grapple with the issue again in 2015, and we expect to hear more about the Keystone State in the upcoming months.

WISCONSIN
Bill Number TBD
Bill title TBD
Summary TBD
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update Senator Fred Risser, D-Madison, and Representatives Dianne Hesselbein, D-Middleton, and Sondy Pope, D-Cross Plains, are circulating for co-sponsorship and plan to soon introduce a Death with Dignity measure. This will be the 7th time such a proposal will have been introduced in the past 20 years. In previous 6 attempts the bill was not heard by the Wisconsin Assembly or Senate.

WYOMING
Bill Number HB 119
Bill title Death with Dignity Act
Summary TBD
Date Introduced TBD
Latest update State Representative Dan Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, intends to sponsor a Death with Dignity bill this year. He has stated the bill has a lot of quiet support in the legislature.

Did we miss one? Contact Peter Korchnak with updates on your state.

Defend dignity. Take action.

You are the key to ensuring well-crafted Death with Dignity laws for all Americans. With your financial and volunteer help, the Death with Dignity National Center, a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, nonprofit organization, has been the leading advocate in the Death with Dignity movement. Individual contributions helped us pass new Death with Dignity laws in Washington and Vermont, defend the Oregon law, and provide education and outreach programs for the vitality of the Death with Dignity movement.

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