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An Initial Snapshot of the 2019 Legislative Session

February 11, 2019

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.

MAINE

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

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.

NEW YORK

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.

Legislative Map February 2019

Teal: states with death with dignity laws; peach: states with death with dignity bills under consideration; orange: no activity around death with dignity.

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.

TAKE ACTION IN YOUR STATE

Around the U.S.

In addition to our priority states, we continue to provide assistance to grassroots organizations across the country.

In NORTH CAROLINA, we are lending our expertise to the grassroots organization Dying Right North Carolina, supplying feedback on a draft bill and advising on strategy.

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

We also anticipate bills to be introduced in DELAWARE and MICHIGAN later in the session.

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:

TAKE ACTION IN YOUR STATE

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.

14 Comments.

Allen Samuels
February 12, 2019 at 7:20 am

As the U.S. population ages more and more people will have to face some serious realities. One being that as we age we diminish in strength, dexterity, agility, mobility, balance, touch, taste, smell, hearing, libido and numerous other physical and cognitive ways. That is just the way it is. As one gets close to one’s end of life each of us will have to decide for ourselves how we want to live out our lives with dignity and grace. For many, decisions will not be theirs to make. This is why it is imperative to put into place laws that will allow and enable those who chose to end their life when the time comes and the only options are pain, discomfort and a total loss of independence. When life is deemed to no longer worth living an elder must have the right to end that life without fear and pain and with peace of mind knowing death will be enabled with care, consideration, respect and love.

Dennis Graham
February 12, 2019 at 8:20 am

I can’t thank you enough ad I have now been digainost with a terminal illnesses with a year or so to live. This gives me so much support as IPF can be very difficult to die from. Hopefully I can find the path to a state for assistance as Florida continues to have closed ears with this subject matter
Again thank you,
Dennis Graham

Belle Wade Fitzpatrick
February 12, 2019 at 8:25 am

There are so many people who you ARE NOT reaching! Especially in Florida the “retirement state”. How can you enlarge the family?

Marjory Diane Ogren
February 12, 2019 at 8:25 pm

People have a right to death with dignity

Phyllis
February 12, 2019 at 9:46 pm

What do each color on the map represent

Peter Korchnak, Death with Dignity
February 20, 2019 at 10:45 am

We’ve added a brief legend to the map, Phyllis. Sorry for the oversight.

Eleanor K Hislop
February 13, 2019 at 1:07 am

I so want New York State to pass legislation so that we all have a choice in how we want to die. Let’s join the other States who have already passed laws.

Jean C Edens
February 13, 2019 at 5:25 am

Dear Leader:
Please give me contact information with North Carolina “Medical Aid in Dying” organization. I will be buried in Mocksville, NC in the Boone cemetery with my Squire Boone ancestors and am interested in supporting the present N C legislation progress. Thank you.

Peter Korchnak, Death with Dignity
February 20, 2019 at 10:46 am

The NC organization is Dying Right North Carolina, and you can find them at

http://dyingrightnc.org/

EFB
February 23, 2019 at 6:37 am

Unfortunately the state of Connecticut I feel will never ever pass this act and if they did they would manage to put a tax on it as they are pretty much taxing us on almost everything in this state. Unfortunately, we are considering leaving a home we love and relocating to one of the states nearby that will allow us the right for Death with Dignity.

Sue McKeown
February 23, 2019 at 10:27 pm

Don’t be surprised if you face tougher sledding in getting legislation passed than anticipated. It’s more than the Roman Catholics who turn out to oppose these laws. Secular disability rights groups, like Not Dead Yet, also show up. And while John and Jane Q. Public might respond affirmatively to a survey question about the right of terminally persons to receive life-ending medications, it’s not nearly a hot-button issue to most compared to improved health care, better schools, or lower taxes.

Frances Boggess
February 26, 2019 at 7:40 am

Thank you for your work in this arena. I have a terminal illness myself and cannot consider the torture of putting my family through the last few months of agony while waiting for me to die. But mostly I can’t stand the pain, and when I can’t take it any longer, I will move to a state that already has the law if NM doesn’t pass it this year.

Carol
April 1, 2019 at 11:31 am

I live in New Jersey and am eagerly waiting for governor Murphy to sign the New Jersey Aid in dying bill. Are there any projections as to when he is supposed to sign? I am so worried that he will be severely pressured by the opposition to amend it. I would appreciate if you could keep us updated. Thank you immensely for all your work.

Peter Korchnak, Death with Dignity
April 1, 2019 at 2:51 pm

We don’t have a hard date, but the legal limit is 10 days from the day the bill gets transmitted from the legislature to the Governor (the bill passed on March 25).

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