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Legal changes on their fast way in Hawai’i

On February 28, 2018 the Hawai’i House Committee on Health and Human Services and the Committee on Judiciary both passed a Death with Dignity bill (HB 2739, Our Care Our Choice Act), sending it to the full House of Representatives for a vote. Last year a similar bill (SB 1129) passed the Senate with a 22 to 3 vote, but was deferred in a House Committee without a vote. During yesterday’s hearing, Hawai’i GovernorIge expressed categorical support for the measure. The 4-1 and 7-1 votes, respectively, in favour of HB 2739, show the legislators listened to the will of the people of Hawai‘i and advanced a bill more than 75 percent of state residents support. Sixteen years after Hawai’i almost succeeded in passing a law in 2002, there is unprecedented momentum in Hawai’i this year to make it the 7th jurisdiction with a Death with Dignity statute.

On March 7, 2018 the Hawaii House approved the bill that would allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients, in a 39-12 vote sending the measure to the Senate, which last year overwhelmingly approved a similar bill. It makes the nation’s seventh Death with Dignity law a distinct possibility.

On March 16, 2018 the Hawai‘i Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health has just voted to PASS a Death with Dignity bill. The unanimous vote in favour of HB 2739 HD1, Our Care Our Choice Act, shows that, like Hawai’i State Representatives before them, Hawai’i State Senators respect the will of their constituents when it comes to end-of-life decisions. The Aloha State is but two votes away from becoming the nation’s seventh jurisdiction with a Death with Dignity statute (one more Committee vote and a full floor vote in a chamber that overwhelmingly passed a similar bill last year). And Hawai‘i Governor Ige has publicly stated he’ll sign this bill if it arrives on his desk.

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