Maine State Senator Roger Katz (R-Kennebec/Augusta) introduced SP 113 / LD 347, An Act to Support Death with Dignity, on February 2, 2017. Co-sponsors include
- Maine State Senators Brownie Carson (D-Cumberland), Geoff Gratwick (D-Penobscot), Dawn Hill (D-York), Dave Miramant (D-Knox), and Kimberley Rosen (R-Hancock)
- Maine State Representatives Denise Harlow (D-Portland), Brian Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor), Patricia Hymanson (D-York), Eric Jorgensen, (D-Portland), and Stephen Wood (R-Greene).
Maine State Representative Jennifer Parker introduced HP 749 / LD 1066, An Act to Support Life with Dignity, on March 16, 2017.
Both bills will be heard at a joint hearing of the Committee Health and Human Services Committee on April 5, 2017.
There have been multiple attempts to pass physician-assisted dying legislation in Maine. The first came after Oregon pass the Death with Dignity Act: HB 552 in 1995, LD 916 in 1996, HB 663 in 1997, and IB 3/IB 10 in 1999. A 1998 survey of Maine voters found that 63 percent of respondents favored physician-assisted dying.
In 2000, our predecessor organization sponsored Question 1, a ballot initiative proposal closely modeled after the Oregon law, seeking to legalize physician-assisted dying. The initiative was narrowly defeated 51 to 49 percent, with only a 6,000 vote difference statewide.
In 2013, a physician-assisted dying bill with broader scope than the Oregon model, LD 1065, was considered and rejected in the legislature.
In April 2015 Representatives Bobbi Beavers (D-South Berwick), Richard Campbell (R-Orrington), Kathleen Dillingham (R-Oxford), Denise Harlow (D-Portland), Brian Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor), Eric Jorgensen, (D-Portland), Diane Russell (D-Portland), Stephen Wood (R-Greene), as well as Senators Roger Katz (R-Kennebec/Augusta) and Dawn Hill (D-York) cross-filed SP 452 / LD 1270, An Act Regarding Patient-directed Care at the End of Life. The Joint Committee on Health and Human Services passed the bill 7-5 at a working session on May 22. On June 15 the Maine House approved it 76-70, while the Senate voted 18-17 against the bill on June 15 and 16.
Sen. Katz, the chief sponsor, vows to bring the bill back in 2017. We are working with our local partner It’s My Death on promoting Death with Dignity in Maine.
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