Assembly Leader Adds Support to Doctor-Assisted Suicide Bill
Assembly members Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) and Patty Berg (D-Santa Rosa) co-authored similar legislation last year that was passed in the Assembly but defeated by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Levine and Berg reintroduced the legislation this year along with Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles).
Based on a 1997 Oregon law, the proposal applies to patients who are given a prognosis of less than six months to live and then make two oral requests to separate physicians for the prescription, along with a written request. If a physician suspects the patient is mentally impaired, a psychological or psychiatric evaluation can be requested.
Aaron McLear, press secretary for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), said the governor maintains his position that the issue should be decided by voters, not the Legislature (Yi, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/16).
Nuñez said he was persuaded by Berg and Levine that the proposal is not about suicide but about "how people are going to live the last days of their lives" (Vogel, Los Angeles Times, 2/16).
Alicia Trost, a spokesperson for Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland), said Perata said that the issue would be considered if it is passed to the Senate.
Republican lawmakers in the past have opposed attempts to pass the legislation, yet recent polls show support from a majority of Republican voters (Geissinger, Oakland Tribune, 2/16).
CPR's "KXJZ News" on Thursday reported on the legislation. The segment includes comments from Nuñez (O'Mara, "KXJZ News," CPR, 2/15). A transcript and audio of the segment is available online.
KPBS' "KPBS News" also recently reported on the legislation. The segment includes comments from Berg (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 2/12). A transcript and audio of the segment is available online.