On November 8, 2016, Colorado voters passed Proposition 106, the End of Life Options Act, at the ballot by 65 to 35 percent (or 2 to 1) margin. The law went into effect on December 16, 2016.
Fifty-six percent of Colorado physicians support the option, according to the Colorado Medical Society.
In the 2017 session, opponents of the new law introduced HB 1368, a bill that would amend the Act to allow, rather than require, the attending physician or hospice medical director to sign the death certificate of someone who used an aid-in-dying medication. The bill died in committee.
Proposition 106, a physician-assisted dying measure, had qualified qualified for the ballot in August 2o16. According to a Colorado Mesa University September 2016 poll, 70 percent of Coloradans supported the measure, with 46 percent favoring it strongly.
The ballot measure’s success followed the failure of bills to progress in the Colorado state legislature in two subsequent sessions.
In 2015, Colorado State Representatives Lois Court (D-Denver) and Joann Ginal (D-Fort Collins) sponsored HB 15-1135, the Colorado Death with Dignity Act, which was heard and voted down in a House Committee.
In January 2016, Representatives Court and Ginal introduced HB 16-1054, a Death with Dignity bill, while Senator Michael Merrifield (D-Manitou Springs) signed on as sponsor of SB 16-025, an identical companion bill, in the Colorado Senate. The new bill was called the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act. A hearing in the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee took place on February 3, 2016. The bill was voted down (“postponed indefinitely”) 3 to 2 along party lines. A hearing in the House Judiciary Committee took place on February 4, 2016. The bill passed 6 to 5, again along party lines. On February 24, 2016, the bill sponsors pulled the bill from consideration by the full House due to a lack of votes to pass it.
The 2015 session was the first time a Death with Dignity bill was considered in the Colorado legislature after the Oregon Death with Dignity Act went into effect. Colorado had considered physician-assisted dying bills in 1995 (HB 95-1308) and 1996 (HB 96-1185).
- Full text of Proposition 106 (originally Initiative 145)
- Death with Dignity National Center ad in support of Prop 106 airing in rural areas and featuring Deborah Ziegler, Brittany Maynard’s mother
- “Aid in Dying: Colorado Confronts a Difficult Policy Question,” – An analytical report by the Colorado Health Institute, January 2016
- Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s webpage about the Act (includes links to forms)