Capitol Alert

Amended assisted-death bill heads to Assembly floor

Debbie Ziegler holds a photo of her daughter, Brittany Maynard, the California woman with brain cancer who moved to Oregon to legally end her life last fall, during a news conference to announce the reintroduction of right to die legislation on Aug. 18, 2015.
Debbie Ziegler holds a photo of her daughter, Brittany Maynard, the California woman with brain cancer who moved to Oregon to legally end her life last fall, during a news conference to announce the reintroduction of right to die legislation on Aug. 18, 2015. The Associated Press

The controversial proposal that would allow physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients can finally get a vote on the Assembly floor after it passed out of a special finance committee on Friday by a vote of 5-3.

The language of Assembly Bill X2-15 continues to evolve, however. The authors accepted several amendments intended to shore up support for the measure, including one that would sunset the law after 10 years.

Another would require patients to reaffirm their consent within 48 hours before taking the medication. The amendment was requested Tuesday at a special Assembly health committee hearing by Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, one of the first Republicans to express support for the bill.

The version of AB X2-15 heading to the Assembly floor also specifies that doctors can be sanctioned by their licensing boards for abusing the law. The health committee had recommended making physicians liable for “gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct,” but the California Medical Association said it would remove its neutrality on the bill if that change was made.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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