Vermont – Assisted Suicide bill may get attached to tanning bed regulation bill

By Alex Schadenberg, executive director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin

If assisted suicide is good for Vermont then why is the suicide lobby needing to attach the assisted suicide bill to a bill that regulates the use of tanning beds in Vermont?

If the Vermont assisted suicide bill is allowed to be attached to a tanning bed regulation bill, it will make a mockery of an important life and death issue.

This latest action shows the desperation of Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. Shumlin is attempting to push his political agenda, knowing that the legalization of assisted suicide has been consistently defeated in Vermont.

Governor Shumlin received out of state political donations during the last election campaign with the promise that he would legalize assisted suicide in Vermont. Shumlin didn’t count on the fact that the majority of Vermont Senators oppose assisted suicide.

The same assisted suicide bill recently died in the Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee. The suicide lobby isn’t happy that they have lost again in Vermont and have decided to legalize death by lethal dose in Vermont at all costs.

True Dignity Vermont, a group of Vermont citizens who oppose assisted suicide, alerted their supporters to contact their representatives to oppose bringing assisted suicide into Vermont by a sneaky back-door tactic.

An interesting interview was done by Bob Kinzel of several Vermont Senators on Public Radio and this is what was said:

The legislation establishes a process that allows terminally ill people to receive medications that they can use to end their lives.  The bill was bottled up in the Senate Judiciary committee where a majority of members opposed it and it appeared unlikely that the issue would ever make it to the Senate floor.

(Kinzel) So several members of the Senate Health Care committee added the bill as an amendment to legislation that prohibits minors from using tanning beds. Chittenden senator Hinda Miller is a strong supporter of the bill. She says the issue deserves a full vote on the Senate floor.

(Miller) “We have the Governor and the Speaker who have for many years wanted this bill to pass and then we have Senate leadership that was not for the bill. So we’re representing citizens of Vermont.”

(Kinzel) The question is whether or not the amendment will be considered germane to the tanning bill. Miller says since tanning beds are responsible for the development of certain types of cancer, the connection is definitely there.

(Miller) “At a certain point you do what you have to do and we have a lot of ways to get things to the floor and sometimes different ways are blocked and you have to be a little creative and we feel strongly that this will be germane and that we will be able to bring this bill to a vote. That’s what we want to do.”

(Kinzel) Rutland senator Kevin Mullen is a member of the committee. He opposes the bill and he was shocked that supporters took this action.

(Mullen) “Extremely disappointed. I mean we were talking about telemedicine and tanning beds today in committee and to think that Death with Dignity all of a sudden comes out of thin air and gets voted on within a matter of minutes is just not the way it should be done.”

(Kinzel) Senate President John Campbell is also a member of the committee and a strong opponent of the bill. He doesn’t think the amendment will be found to be germane.

(Campbell) “Unfortunately I think that this is going to pit this committee against the Judiciary committee which did take the testimony in this matter. So I guess time will tell.”

(Kinzel) As the presiding officer of the Senate, Lt. Governor Phil Scott will rule on a number of procedural challenges to the bill and his decisions can be challenged on the Senate floor.

If backers are not successful in this initial effort, they say they’ll look for other bills to attach their amendment to.

I reiterate: “If backers are not successful in this initial effort, they say they’ll look for other bills to attach their amendment to.”

So much for honesty and true democracy.

Editor’s note. This appeared at