Hawaii assisted suicide bill passes two House committees

Committee member complains he never saw text of amended bill

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Hawaii Judiciary Committee Representative Bob McDermott

I have very bad news from Hawaii.

After a five-hour hearing on Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee voted (7-1) and House Health and Human Services Committee voted (4 -1) in support of assisted suicide bill HB 2739.

Nathan Eagle reporting for the Honolulu Civil Beat stated that Judiciary Committee Representative Bob McDermott, who voted no to the bill, was upset that he was expected to vote on the bill even though he was not given a copy of the amended bill.

Eagle reported:

McDermott said he was not even provided a copy of the amendments prior to the vote.

“I don’t know what we’re voting on,” he said as [Judiciary Committee chair Scott] Nishimoto called for the vote.

Nishimoto said that given the time constraints, working on changes to the bill up until 15 minutes before the hearing started, he did not have an opportunity to give McDermott a copy.

“Pass it then read it,” a member of the public shouted out sarcastically.

Proponents claim the bill has greater “safeguards.” Eagle reported:

Hawaii would be the first state to require counseling, Mizuno said. He added that the tele-health provision would help make it easier for residents in Hawaii to comply with the counseling requirement, recognizing that some live in rural areas far from doctors.

The committees also lengthened the time the patient must wait between making two verbal requests for medically assisted death. Instead of 14 days, the amended version now calls for 20 days. One signed written request, witnessed by two people (one unrelated to the patient), is also required.

In 2017, Hawaii Health Committee defeated assisted suicide bill SB 1129 (7-0), after the Committee members read the bill.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.