Delaware State Representative Paul Baumbach (D-23) and 3 co-sponsors, Representative Bryon Short (D-7), Senator David Sokola (D-8), and Senator Margaret Henry (D-2) introduced HB 160, End of Life Options Act, on May 2, 2017. The bill was assigned to the House Health and Human Development Committee, which voted to send it to the full House for a vote (the vote was 1 in favor, 5 on its merits, i.e. the legislators neither supported nor opposed the bill but believed it should get a House floor vote, and 2 opposed. The bill was amended on June 28. No further action occurred in 2017.
The bill was rolled over to 2018. The vote in the House was delayed twice, and the bill did not advance.
The Medical Society of Delaware opposes any aid-in-dying bills.
The 2016-2018 session is the second time a Death with Dignity bill was introduced in the Delaware legislature. In 2015, Representative Baumbach introduced HB 150, a Death with Dignity bill as well. The bill was tabled in Committee.
While the bill did not have enough support to move forward, another bill in the same session related to end-of-life options did become law: HB 64, Delaware Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment Act, established a different end-of-life option.
With more than a quarter of Delaware’s population reaching age 60 in the next few years, Death with Dignity and related topics will continue to pique the public’s interest.