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Maine's Death with Dignity Bill Clears the Joint Standing Committee for Health and Human Services

This is a report from last Friday's working session at the Maine Joint Standing Committee for Health and Human Services by our long-time supporter and volunteer, Valerie Lovelace.

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Valerie Lovelace is the executive director of the nonprofit It's My Death, which she founded to honor a promise to her sister Dee, dying of cancer, "to teach others how to be with dying, how to speak and listen to one another the way we had learned to speak and listen, and how to go on even when afraid." She is an inter-faith minister, ordained by calling, studying and practicing in the traditions of her elders and teachers, who are Native American, Christian, and Buddhist. She is a hospice volunteer, artist, and the parent of three adult children. She is also a homeopathic practitioner and a Reiki Master, retired from the U.S. Navy, and a trained EMT. She lives in Maine.

The 127th Maine legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services approved LD 1270, An Act Regarding Patient Self-Directed Care at End of Life, on May 22, 2015 by a vote of 7 to 5 in a working session lasting less than one hour. Twelve of the committee’s thirteen members were present for the session.

Read more: Maine's Death with Dignity Bill Clears the Joint Standing Committee for Health and Human Services

Week 21/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Last week (May 18 to May 25, 2015) was huge in the movement.

The California Medical Association dropped its opposition to physician-assisted dying and is now neutral on SB 128. Also in California, another lawsuit was filed asking for the state to allow physician-assisted dying.

A similar lawsuit was filed in Tennessee, where a bill had been referred to a summer working session.

In Vermont, the Governor signed a bill solidifying the safeguards in the original Death with Dignity bill, Act 39 - A Patient Choice and Control at the End of Life Act.

And in Maine, a joint legislative committee passed the proposed Death with Dignity bill.

California

While SB 128 - End of Life Option Act underwent a fiscal impact study in the Senate Appropriations Committee, the California Medical Association changed its stance on the bill to neutral. Learn more →

Read more: Week 21/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Week 20/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Last week (May 11 to May 17, 2015), a proposed Death with Dignity bill received a hearing in Maine and the California bill moved forward through the Appropriations Committee.

California

The Senate Appropriations Committee forwarded SB 128 - End of Life Option Act for budget impact assessment, while Californians continue to debate the issue. Meanwhile, just today, the California Medical Association dropped its opposition to physician-assisted dying and is now neutral on the proposed bill.

Read more: Week 20/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

A Report from Maine Death with Dignity Bill Hearing

This is a report from last Friday's Maine House Committee Hearing on LD1270 - An Act Regarding Patient Self-Directed Care at End-of-Life by our long-time supporter, Valerie Lovelace.

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Val is the executive director of the nonprofit It's My Death, which she founded to honor a promise to her sister Dee, dying of cancer, "to teach others how to be with dying, how to speak and listen to one another the way we had learned to speak and listen, and how to go on even when afraid." She is an inter-faith minister, ordained by calling, studying and practicing in the traditions of her elders and teachers, who are Native American, Christian, and Buddhist. She is a hospice volunteer, artist, and the parent of three adult children. She is also a homeopathic practitioner and a Reiki Master, retired from the U.S. Navy, and a trained EMT. She lives in Maine.

Maine’s Motto is "Dirigo" or "I Direct" or "I Lead" and its tagline "The Way Life Should Be." I'm proud of how hard my legislators work to ensure our laws are fair, straightforward, and seek to ensure as much freedom as possible. It’s a balancing act, for sure. What I love about the process is that at the end of the day, when a piece of legislation is enacted, it’s been hammered over to produce the best and safest possible piece of legislation.

Read more: A Report from Maine Death with Dignity Bill Hearing

Week 19/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

News Scrabble

Last week (May 4 to May 10, 2015) the Vermont House approved a bill that would remove sunset provisions from the Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act, the state's Death with Dignity law. Because the representatives amended S.108 with a reporting clause, the Senate must approve the new version of the bill before Governor Shumlin signs it. Earlier, an amendment to repeal Act 39 was defeated 83 to 60. Representative Sandy Haas said in the media that seven patients have used the law since it passed in 2013.

Read more: Week 19/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

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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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