Physician-Assisted Suicide Bill Does Not Reach Vote in Assembly, Moves to Senate in Parliamentary Move
Assembly members Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) and Patty Berg (D-Santa Rosa) on Wednesday used a parliamentary maneuver to send a bill (AB 654) that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in some cases to the Senate without an Assembly vote, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The move came after it appeared Levine and Berg would not have enough supporting votes from Assembly Democrats to approve the bill. Assembly Republicans uniformly oppose the bill and many Assembly Democrats on Wednesday remained undecided, raising questions about the bill's chances of passage (Hubbell, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/2).
According to the Chronicle, Levine and Berg can use the procedure to remove the contents of one of their bills already passed by the Assembly and replace it with the physician-assisted suicide bill. This prevents the bill's defeat for the time being and allows debate on the issue to continue in the Senate while the bills' supporters continue efforts to secure votes in the Assembly.
The bill still would face votes in as many as two Senate committees, as well as the full Senate. If passed by the Senate, the bill then would return to the Assembly and, pending Assembly approval, go to the governor for final approval before it could become law (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/2).
In related news, the Senate and Assembly on Wednesday passed other health-related bills. Each bill will move to the other chamber for consideration. Summaries of the bills appear below.
AB 772, SB 437: The bills would expand eligibility for Healthy Families to families with incomes that do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level. The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Norwalk), and the Assembly bill is sponsored by Assembly member Wilma Chan (D-Oakland) (Vogel, Los Angeles Times, 6/2).
- SB 57: The bill, by Sen. Richard Alarcon (D-Van Nuys), would allow counties to raise fees on traffic and criminal violations to help fund hospital emergency department and trauma centers (Geissinger, Oakland Tribune, 6/2).