Great news from the Aloha State!
The Hawai‘i House of Representatives today passed HB 2739, Our Care Our Choice Act, a Death with Dignity bill. The 39-12 vote not only reflects the views of the people of Hawai‘i, it makes the nation’s seventh Death with Dignity law a distinct possibility.
How We Got Here
In 2017, the first year of the Hawai‘i Legislature’s current biennium, the state Senate overwhelmingly passed an assisted-dying bill. The Hawaii House of Representatives Committee on Health subsequently deferred it to 2018.
This January, the House took up four separate Death with Dignity bills, choosing to advance HB 2739, sponsored by Hawaiʻi State Representatives Della Au Belatti (D-Makiki), Mark Hashem (D-Hahaione), Nicole Lowen (D-Kailua-Kona), Sylvia Luke (D-Makiki), Dee Morikawa (D-Niihau), Scott Nishimoto (D-Kapahulu), Scott Saiki (D-McCully), Gregg Takayama (D-Pearl City), and Chris Todd (D-Hilo).
On February 28, the House Health and Human Services and Judiciary Committees passed the bill 4-1 and 7-1, respectively, paving the way for the landslide vote in the full House of Representatives on March 6. The bill now moves to the Senate, whose leadership will schedule a hearing for later this month.
“I Would Be Proud and Honored to Sign This Bill”
Our work to pass Oregon-style Death with Dignity legislation in Hawai‘i stretches back nearly 20 years. Today, a host of organizations including our grassroots partners, Hawai‘i Death with Dignity Society and Hawai‘i Citizens for End of Life Choices, are actively engaged in advocating for the passage of an assisted-dying statute in the Aloha State.
In poll after poll, Hawai‘i residents have expressed their support for Death with Dignity. Most recently, a November 2017 Honolulu Civil Beat poll found that 63 percent of registered Hawai‘i voters supported medical aid in dying.
The Our Care Our Choice Act received a major boost last month when Hawai‘i Governor David Ige made an impassioned statement urging lawmakers to pass the bill.
— Governor David Ige (@GovHawaii) February 27, 2018
Moving Forward, Giving Thanks
We are closer to an assisted dying statute in Hawai‘i than ever. As we move on to the Senate side with this promising bill, let’s give credit where credit is due and recognize all those Representatives who listened to the will of their constituents and voted for the Death with Dignity bill.