Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Assisted death lawsuit gets hearing in San Diego

Deborah Ziegler hales a photo of her daughter Brittany Maynard with her husband Gary Holmes after the California Senate passed SB 128, a bill that would allow physicians to assist in the death of terminally ill patients. The bill was later pulled from the Assembly.
Deborah Ziegler hales a photo of her daughter Brittany Maynard with her husband Gary Holmes after the California Senate passed SB 128, a bill that would allow physicians to assist in the death of terminally ill patients. The bill was later pulled from the Assembly. hamezcua@sacbee.com

A San Diego court today will hold a key hearing on a lawsuit brought by three seriously ill patients – including one from Sacramento – and a doctor who contend California’s law barring physician-assisted death is unconstitutional.

The case, filed in May, comes as state lawmakers for the third time have stalled a bill that would allow assisted death for terminally ill patients. Senate Bill 128 was pulled from the Assembly after passing the Senate earlier this month. It is supported by Compassion & Choices and opposed by the Catholic church.

The lawsuit asks for the ban on assisted death to be repealed and declared unconstitutional. It claims the law violates several parts of the state constitution, including the rights to privacy and free speech.

Among the plaintiffs is Elizabeth Wallner, a 51-year-old Sacramento woman, who has stage-four colon cancer that has spread to her liver and lungs, according to the suit. Another is Christy O’Donnell, a civil rights attorney and former LAPD sergeant who is terminally ill with lung cancer that has spread to her liver, brain, spine, and ribs.

The hearing is at 10 a.m. at the civil courthouse in San Diego.

BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT: Rallies statewide will encourage Vice President Joe Biden to run for president. Draft Biden is hosting events in San Francisco, Riverside, West Los Angeles, and Mission Viejo as Biden finishes up his California visit today.

The group has over 150,000 signatures on a petition to encourage Biden’s candidacy. It reads, in part: “Why Biden? Quite simply, WHY NOT BIDEN? ”

TEACHING TEENS: Several events on Saturday are geared towards educating youths.

Want to experience lawmaking first hand? Students from age 14 to 18 can participate in mock legislative sessions, sponsored by the Capitol Research Institute, a conservative family values advocacy group. The sessions start at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Assembly Chambers.

“Stop the Violence” will have carnival games and food to attract students to booths on human trafficking and cyber-bullying, sponsored by Krazy Sac Ladz DBA Kids Served N Luv, which serves lunches to low-income children. The event targets disadvantaged youths and is set for 9 a.m. on the south lawn of the Capitol

SuperKids Summer Bash will mix summer fun with a health and wellness fair, sponsored in part by Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley. Bike helmet giveaways, food trucks and dental screenings are some of the featured attractions. It starts at 10 a.m. at the Southside Community Center in San Jose.

CELEBRATIONS: Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, turns 39.

Editor’s Note: Previous versions of this post incorrectly said Vice President Joe Biden would visit the Theranos blood testing company today. The visit was Thursday.

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