January marks the central period in Death with Dignity’s work. State legislative sessions start and we get to do what we do best: promote, expand, and defend the right of people with a terminal illness to decide how they die. Here’s a snapshot of the 2019 legislative session one month in.
Our Focus States for 2019: Maine, Nevada, New York
This legislative session, we are concentrating our efforts on three states where your support has allowed us to lay the groundwork for a number of years and where we see the greatest potential for success.
We continue to support the efforts of Maine Death with Dignity, a grassroots political action committee, to gather signatures to place a death with dignity law on the ballot. Additionally, we are throwing our support behind Maine State Representative Patricia Hymanson’s identical bill.
Nevada State Senator David Parks, with whom we worked in 2017, is sponsoring a death with dignity bill again this year. We are building a coalition of advocates and organizations to support the bill, and working with a lobbyist to assure passage.
We continue to work with a coalition of organizations to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act, which was reintroduced by Rep. Amy Paulson in January. We participated in a press conference at the state Capitol last month featuring advocates, doctors, terminally ill patients, and others supporting the coalition’s work. We will take part in Lobby Days throughout the legislative session.
In NEW MEXICO, a House committee has already passed an aid-in-dying bill. We’ve provided comments on the draft bill and helped the local End of Life Options Coalition build organizational capacity by developing a website and providing training for webmasters.
In MARYLAND, where we’ve been working since 2015, our president, George Eighmey, and former Oregon Hospice Association Executive Director and CEO, Ann Jackson, will testify on our behalf at legislative hearings.
We are also closely watching CALIFORNIA, where the End of Life Option Act continues to work as intended even though our opponents have petitioned the state supreme court to review their case.
Around the U.S.
In addition to our priority states, we continue to provide assistance to grassroots organizations across the country.
In OHIO, where recent polling shows 75 percent of residents support death with dignity legislation, our grassroots partner organization, Ohio End of Life Options, is laying the groundwork for a bill next year.
We are pleased to see bills under consideration in
- NEW JERSEY, where the bill has passed in Assembly and Senate committees
- RHODE ISLAND
- VIRGINIA, for the very first time in state history
Passionate advocates like you have the opportunity to make your voice heard by lawmakers. Send them a letter to urge their support for death with dignity legislation today:
This is how progress happens. With each bill, hearing, or vote, no matter the outcome, we move closer to the day dying Americans can decide how their final moments will go.