Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Brittany Maynard’s family returns to Capitol to support aid-in-dying bill

Facing terminal brain cancer, Brittany Maynard moved to Portland to take advantage of Oregon's Death with Dignity Act.
Facing terminal brain cancer, Brittany Maynard moved to Portland to take advantage of Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. The Associated Press/Maynard Family

Anticipating political challenges, backers of the controversial aid-in-dying bill are making another visible showing of support as the proposal begins to make its way through the Legislature.

The mother and widower of Brittany Maynard, the Bay Area woman whose death last November reignited interest in end-of-life legislation, are returning to the Capitol today to share testimony from Maynard. The bill, which would allow doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to terminally ill people who want to die, faces its first hearing in the Senate Health Committee.

Dan Diaz, Maynard’s widower, will release a video message from Maynard, recorded before her death, during a press conference at 10:30 a.m. in Room 113. Her mother, Deborah Ziegler, will testify and submit a written statement from Maynard during the committee hearing, 1:30 p.m. in Room 4203.

Disability rights advocates and doctors from the group Californians Against Assisted Suicide will also be at the hearing to express their opposition to the bill. Opponents argue that aid-in-dying laws undermine the physician’s role as a healer and put vulnerable people in harm’s way. The Catholic Church has lobbied heavily against previous efforts on moral grounds.

VIDEO: Silent during the election, lawmakers are now pushing back on Proposition 47, Dan Walters says.

GIRL POWER: California Women in Energy, a new professional organization, is launching its first membership drive with a high-wattage panel discussion, 5:30 p.m. at the California Museum on O Street. State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus, Western States Petroleum Association President Cathy Reheis-Boyd and California Energy Commission member Janea Scott, among others, will share their thoughts on California’s energy future.

UNIVERSOLAR: State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León is in Washington, D.C., this week meeting with Obama administration officials, members of Congress and others to discuss California’s economic, education and environmental policies. He will serve as the featured speaker at a Center for American Progress event this morning on making solar energy accessible for middle- and low-income households, streaming live at 7 a.m.

SHAKE IT OFF: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will join Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, D-Sherman Oaks, to introduce AB 428, providing property owners with a 30 percent tax credit to make seismic upgrades to their earthquake-vulnerable buildings, 1 p.m. at the mayor’s San Fernando Valley office in Van Nuys.

STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM: What caused California’s record-low voter turnout in the November election? A joint session of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee and the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee investigates, 1:30 p.m. in Room 3191 of the Capitol. Elsewhere, the Senate Insurance Committee will consider whether coverage for injuries caused by uninsured or under-insured drivers meets consumers’ needs, 1:30 p.m. in Room 112.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.