Rep. McDermott votes "no," chides committee for passing "Assisted Suicide" Bill without reading it first.
News Release from Rep Bob McDermott, February 28, 2018
Today's vote on HB2739, the so called "Death with Dignity" bill was passed by our State House Judicial Committee in spite of my no vote.
The way this bill was hustled through sight unseen is an example of the dysfunction of the legislature.
I was asked to vote on the important issue of assisted suicide without the opportunity to read or study the latest amendments that were slipped in overnight. We were asked to vote without our members having seen a written draft of the revised bill. I literally had nothing in front of me on which to vote.
How is anyone supposed to vote on such an important bill without reading it first?
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"Rep. Tupola's Statement on HB 2739, 'Our Care, Our Choice Act"
News Release from Rep Andria Tupola, February 28, 2018
HONOLULU, HAWAIʻI – HB 2739 – Relating to Health, also known as the "Our Care, Our Choice Act" or the "Physician-Assisted Suicide" bill passed out of the joint committee of Health and Human Services and Judiciary with amendments. Representative Andria Tupola (District 43 – ʻEwa Villages, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Nanakai Gardens, Ko Olina, Kahe Point, Nānākuli, Lualualei, and Māʻili) voted “no” on the measure. All members of the committee voted “yes” on the bill, except Rep. Andria Tupola and Rep. Bob McDermott (District 40 – Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Iroquois Point).
"This is definitely a controversial bill and yet we were not provided with a copy of House Draft 1 or a list of amendments to the bill. Instead, the amendments were quickly read through and not repeated. How can I vote on something that I was not able to read and see how the amendments change the overall bill?” said. Rep. Tupola.
"I appreciate the hard work that the introducer and the chairman of the Health and Human Services committee put into this bill, but I believe there is more to do to ensure the safety of our people.”
Rep. Tupola noted two significant weaknesses of HB 2739:
- The language on criminal penalties lacks significant safeguards against malpractice or abuse as suggested by the Attorney General. The words “in good faith” do not establish a clear objective standard for liability.
- The bill fails to ensure the proper disposal of unused life-ending medication. Adding a penalty for the failure to dispose of leftover medication properly would help to prevent unsuspecting victims from ingesting lethal drugs. The lack of enforcement will make the State morally responsible for any tragic consequences.
"We weren't ready for this legislation last year, and I wasn’t given a draft to read the most current version this year," said Rep. Tupola. "Although HB 2739 is purported to be the strongest legislation for physician-assisted suicide, we should be careful to guard against elder abuse and be mindful of the opioid crisis sweeping our country. We shouldn’t be voting on any bills that we haven’t fully read, especially when dealing with public safety,” Rep. Tupola concluded.
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House Democrats: HOUSE COMMITTEES PASS 'OUR CARE, OUR CHOICE' BILL WITH 'RIGOROUS SAFEGUARDS'
Compassion & Choices: HAWAI‘I HOUSE HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES AND JUDICIARY COMMITTEES APPROVE MEDICAL AID-IN-DYING BILL
PDF: Floor Amendments Proposed by Rep Andria Tupola March 1, 2018
HB2739: Text, Status