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Maryland

Current Status

The Maryland General Assembly is not considering aid in dying legislation at this time.

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Resources

Maryland General Assembly website

Polling

Endorsements

Maryland State Medical Society holds a neutral position on assisted dying (see more under 2016 below).

History

2020

Bills introduced in the Maryland General Assembly suring 2020 were set aside due to Covid19.

HB0643

  • introduced on January 28, 2020 as the End-of-Life Option Act (Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Act)
  • cross-filed with SB0701
  • full text of HB0643
  • legislative history of HB0643
  • sponsor: Maryland State Delegate Shane Pendergrass (D) with 52 co-sponsors;
  • referred to Health and Government Operations Committee and Judiciary Committee

SB0701

2019

The End-of-Life Option Act (full name: Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Act) passed out of the Maryland House of Delegates and was later defeated in the Senate by a single vote.

HB0399 (cross-filed with SB0311)

  • full text of HB0399;
  • legislative history of HB0399;
  • sponsor: Maryland State Delegate Shane Pendergrass (D-Howard) with 48 co-sponsors;
  • assigned to the House Health and Government Operations Committee and Judiciary Committee.
  • a joint hearing in the two Committees took place on February 15, 2019;
  • on March 1, the two committees jointly passed the bill, 24 to 20;
  • the House of Delegates passed the bill 74 (73D+1R) to 66 (25D+41R) on March 7, 2019; the bill moved to the Senate.

SB0311 (cross-filed with HB0399)

2017

Maryland State Delegate Shane Pendergrass (D-Howard), with 42 co-sponsors, introduced House Bill 370, Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer End-of-Life Option Act, on January 25, 2017 (Maryland State Senator Guy Guzzone cross-filed SB 354 on the same day).

The first House hearing on the bill, in the Health and Government Operations and Judiciary Committees (joint hearing), took place on February 16, 2017; our Board President, George Eighmey, testified at the hearing. No vote took place. On March 3, sponsors of the companion bills withdrew them from consideration.

2016

Del. Pendergrass, with 41 co-sponsors, and Senator Ron Young (D-Frederick) with 12 co-sponsors, introduced an updated version of the previous year’s Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Death With Dignity Act, titled Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer End of Life Option Act. The bills were cross-filed in the House and Senate; House version HB 0404 and Senate SB 0418.

The first House hearing took place on February 19, 2016, in the Health and Government Operations and Judiciary Committees. These were joint hearings for the two committees. The first Senate hearing took place on February 25, 2016 in the Judicial Proceedings Committee. On March 2, Sen. Young withdrew the bill from consideration due to a lack of support, Del. Pendergrass signaled she would likewise not put the bill up for a vote.

Despite the bills not passing, Del. Pendergrass expressed optimism, commenting in the Baltimore Sun, “I’m always an optimist. If it doesn’t pass in one year, there’s always another year, and eventually it will pass. So the question is when it will pass, not will it pass.”

Meanwhile, the Maryland State Medical Society changed its position on assisted dying to neutral after a majority of respondents in a member survey advocated for a change from opposition.

2015

Maryland Delegate Pendergrass plus 37 co-sponsors, and Sen. Young, plus 7 co-sponsors, introduced cross-filed bills, SB 0676 and HB 1021, the Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Death With Dignity Act. Following committee hearings in both chambers, on April 1 the decision was made to not put the bill up for a vote. The bill was then heard in summer study hearings on September 9 and October 6.

A Goucher poll showed that 60 percent of Marylanders support the legislation.

1990’s

Maryland had considered physician-assisted death legislation in 1995 with HB 933 and again in 1996 with HB 474, Physician Aid in Dying.

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