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Maryland

Current Status

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.

  • HB 399
    • Sponsored by Maryland State Delegate Shane Pendergrass (D-Howard) with 48 co-sponsors*; cross-filed with SB 311.
    • 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.
  • SB 311
    • Sponsored by Maryland State Senator Will Smith (D-Silver Spring) with 18 co-sponsors*; cross-filed with HB 399.
    • Assigned to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, where it was heard on March 21 and passed, with amendments, on March 22 on an 8 to 3 vote. On March 27 the Senate rejected the bill on a tie, 23 (22D+1R) to 23 (9D+14R), vote.

Take Action

TELL YOUR Maryland LEGISLATORS TO SUPPORT Death with Dignity Legislation

Send a Letter

Urge Maryland state legislators to support death with dignity

HB 399 / SB 311, End-of-Life Option Act passed in the Maryland House of Delegates and subsequently failed in the Senate by a single vote. Though this was the furthest an aid-in-dying bill has gone in the state, Marylanders with a terminally illness have been denied the peaceful end-of-life option the death with dignity law would have allowed. Write your Maryland State Legislators to urge their support for death with dignity legislation!

Resources

Polling

Endorsements

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

* Bill Co-Sponsors

  • HB 399: Dels. Alfred C. Carr, Jr. (D), Anne R. Kaiser (D), Ariana B. Kelly (D), Ben Barnes (D), Bonnie Cullison (D), Charlotte Crutchfield (D), Courtney Watson (D), Curt Anderson (D), Dana Stein (D), David Fraser-Hidalgo (D), David Moon (D), Diana M. Fennell (D), Emily Shetty (D), Eric Ebersole (D), Eric G. Luedtke (D), Eric M. Bromwell (D), Gabriel Acevero (D), Jared Solomon (D), Jen Terrasa (D), Jessica Feldmark (D), Jheanelle K. Wilkins (D), Jim Gilchrist (D), Jon S. Cardin (D), Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk (D), J. Sandy Bartlett (D), Julie Palakovich Carr (D), Kathleen M. Dumais (D), Kirill Reznik (D), Lily Qi (D), Lorig Charkoudian (D), Maggie McIntosh (D), Marc Korman (D), Marvin E. Holmes, Jr. (D), Mary A. Lehman (D), Mary Ann Lisanti (D), Pat Young (D), Regina T. Boyce (D), Robbyn Lewis (D), Samuel I. Rosenberg (D), Sara Love (D), Shelly Hettleman (D), Stephen W. Lafferty (D), Susie Proctor (D), Terri L. Hill (D), Trent Kittleman (R), Vanessa E. Atterbeary (D), Vaughn Stewart (D)
  • SB 311: Sens. Arthur Ellis (D), Benjamin F. Kramer (D), Bill Ferguson (D), Brian J. Feldman (D), Cheryl C. Kagan (D), Chris West (R), Clarence K. Lam (D), Craig J. Zucker (D), Delores G. Kelley (D), Guy Guzzone (D), Jeff Waldstreicher (D), Jill P. Carter (D), Mary Washington (D), Nancy J. King (D), Paul G. Pinsky (D), Ronald N. Young (D), Sarah K. Elfreth (D), Susan C. Lee (D)

History

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; the House version was HB 0404, the Senate version was S 0418.

The first House hearing, in the Health and Government Operations and Judiciary Committees, took place on February 19, 2016 (this was a joint hearing for the two committees where the bill was assigned); the first Senate hearing, in the Judicial Proceedings Committee, took place on February 25. On March 2, Sen. Young withdrew the bill from consideration by the Committee 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 in 1996 with HB 474, Physician Aid in Dying.

Take Action

TELL YOUR Maryland LEGISLATORS TO SUPPORT Death with Dignity Legislation

Send a Letter

Urge Maryland state legislators to support death with dignity

HB 399 / SB 311, End-of-Life Option Act passed in the Maryland House of Delegates and subsequently failed in the Senate by a single vote. Though this was the furthest an aid-in-dying bill has gone in the state, Marylanders with a terminally illness have been denied the peaceful end-of-life option the death with dignity law would have allowed. Write your Maryland State Legislators to urge their support for death with dignity legislation!

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