Tuesday, April 10, 2012

‘Death with dignity’ resurrected, attached to tanning beds bill


Posted on by | 1 Comment

A Senate committee on Tuesday morning revived one of the most controversial bills discussed in the Statehouse this year: an end-of-life measure that would allow doctors to help terminally ill patients end commit suicide.

The physician-assisted suicide bill was inserted into (what else?) a bill that regulates tanning beds.

With no discussion and no testimony, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted 3-2 in favor of adding the death with dignity amendment to the tanning bed bill and then voted 3-2 to approve the overall tanning bed bill.

A battle will surely ensue in the Senate — which is closely divided  on death with dignity — over whether the physician-assisted suicide amendment is “germane” to the tanning bed legislation.

But Sen. Hinda Miller, a Chittenden County Democrat who sponsored the amendment, argued it is germane because both bills are related to cancer. The tanning bed bill is designed to prevent it, and physician-assisted suicide would be used by people dying from it, Miller said.

By voting in favor of death with dignity, Miller and two other Democrats on the committee bucked Senate leadership.

And Miller, who is majority whip, is actually a member of that leadership team.

Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell is opposed to the physician-assisted suicide bill, but Gov. Peter Shumlin and House Speaker Shap Smith support it.
Should be an interesting one.