Developments are abundant in the United States. Here is what we see coming in the coming year:
Activity in the West
California legislators will introduce a Death with Dignity bill in 2015. There is tremendous momentum in California, and much of the country’s focus on the Death with Dignity movement will shift to the Golden State next year. Leaders from our organization visited California earlier this month to provide strategic support, and we believe the bill will experience legislative success.
Colorado legislators are poised to introduce a Death with Dignity bill next session. While Colorado has always been a state with great potential for policy reform through the ballot initiative process, the legislature looks like it will try to achieve policy reform in the Statehouse. Colorado is a critical state in the West, and we will be anxiously watching the state to see how quickly momentum builds.
Nevada & Hawaii
Nevada legislators are considering an Oregon-style Death with Dignity bill for next year’s session, as are legislators in Hawaii. We have worked in both states this fall, making several trips with our leadership team to help build a foundation for success.
Connecticut may just be the fourth state in the nation (after Oregon, Washington, and Vermont) to adopt Death with Dignity legislation. Policy makers have been debating Death with Dignity over the last five years and the momentum looks extremely positive.
Massachusetts will have a bill this year, but the most likely route to policy reform may be through the ballot. Unfortunately, a Death with Dignity bill cannot return to the Massachusetts ballot until 2018 because of the Commonwealth’s rules on the initiative process. Remember, the 2012 ballot lost by a near margin with the Catholic Church spending nearly $3.5M to defeat it.
New Hampshire legislators will be at it again in 2015, and we look forward to significant policy reform momentum in the Granite State.
New Jersey‘s Assembly passed their Death with Dignity bill last month, and look for the Senate to take it up in 2015. Governor Chris Christie has promised to veto the bill.
New York State Senator Brad Hoylman has promised to introduce a bill in the New York legislature, and while it faces an uphill battle, the debates in New York will help catalyze the momentum for Death with Dignity in the East Coast.
Pennsylvania has attempted to achieve Death with Dignity policy reform in the past, and legislators there will grapple with the issue in 2015. Already, there have been high profile media outlets following progress in Pennsylvania, and you can expect to hear more about the Keystone State in the upcoming months.
Iowans and Kansans will likely see bills introduced in their state legislatures next year. Likelihood for success is not high, but the legislative process is never predictable. Besides, Iowa was the 4th state in the nation to recognize marriage equality and has a long history of civil rights firsts.
(thanks to Death with Dignity National Center)