Capitol Alert

California appeals to save assisted death law

California’s aid-in-dying law helps one woman reclaim a ‘measure of control’

Battling colon cancer, Elizabeth Wallner said she considers California's new aid-in-dying law, which takes effect June 9, 2016, a tool to help her and others live their challenged lives on more of their own terms. The law, she said, is not about h
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Battling colon cancer, Elizabeth Wallner said she considers California's new aid-in-dying law, which takes effect June 9, 2016, a tool to help her and others live their challenged lives on more of their own terms. The law, she said, is not about h

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed an appeal on Monday to a court ruling that overturned the state's controversial assisted suicide law.

Nearly two years after the law took effect, a judge in Riverside County ruled last week that the Legislature improperly passed the bill during a special session on health care funding.

Becerra argued in court documents that the reversal "contradicts both the deference owed the Legislature and an earlier finding by the same court that the act was within the scope of the special session," called to improve the efficiency of the health care system and improve health in California. He said laws enacted during a special session can be broadly germane to the subject matter.

The assisted death law, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015, allows doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients with six months or less to live. Legislators initially failed to pass the proposal during the regular session and made a successful second attempt in the special session.

The attorney general requested that the court keep the law in place during the appeals process.

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