Representative Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton) on January 15, 2015, filed H 1991, the Massachusetts Compassionate Care for the Terminally Ill Act, this session, the fourth time he’s done so, albeit this time backed by 39 lawmakers. A hearing of the Joint (House and Senate) Committee on Public Health took place on October 27, 2015. The deadline for the bill has been extended to June 30, 2016.
The 2015 session was the seventh time a Death with Dignity bill was considered in the Massachusetts legislature. Representative Kafka had filed the same bill three times before, in 2011 (H 2233), 2012 (H 3884), and 2013 (H 1998), but it never moved out of committee.
In 2012, we campaigned in Massachusetts for Question 2, a ballot initiative to pass a Death with Dignity bill. While polls showed 58% of state residents supported the ballot question, the measure lost narrowly 51 to 49 percent. Because of the Commonwealth’s rules on the initiative process, a Death with Dignity bill cannot return to the Massachusetts ballot until 2018.
Physician-assisted dying bills were considered in 1995 (H 3173), 1997 (H 1543), and 2009 (H 1468).
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