Utah State Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D-Salt Lake City) introduced HB 76, End of Life Options Act, on January 5, 2017. On February 9, the bill was tabled in the House Health and Human Services Committee on a 9 to 3 vote, which effectively ended its progress this session.
A December 2015 UtahPolicy.com poll found that 58% of Utahns support physician-assisted dying legislation. While Republicans are divided on the issue with 41% in favor and 50% opposed, Democrats and independents overwhelmingly prefer the idea with 90% of Democrats and 67% of independents supporting. The only religious group opposed to Death with Dignity is very active members of the LDS Church; somewhat active Mormons favor the idea 79-16% and not active ones idea 87-11%. Seventy-six percent of Catholics, 80% of Protestants, and 94% of non-religious people favor the idea.
Rep. Chavez-Houck introduced bills similar to the 2017 bill twice in the past.
In 2016, HB 264, End of Life Options Act, House Health and Human Services Committee heard the bill in February and referred it for further study. The Health and Human Services Interim Committee then heard the proposal in June.
In 2015, the Utah House Health and Human Services Committee voted to send Rep. Chavez-Houck’s bill, HB 391, Utah Death with Dignity Act, for further study during an interim session. The 2015 session was the first time a Death with Dignity bill was considered in the Utah legislature.