Historic debate on end-of-life bill about to beginBy Peter Hirschfeld
Staff Writer | February 12,2013Stefan Hard / Staff Photo
Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, introduces end-of-life bill S. 77 Tuesday in the Senate Chamber of the Statehouse in Montpelier. Ayer is flanked on her right by Sen. Christopher Bray, D-Addison, and Sen. Peter Galbraith, D-Windham. Sen. Robert Hartwell, D-Bennington, is in the foreground right.Sen. Robert Hartwell sat alone in his committee room this morning, poring intently over “Robert Baxter versus the state of Montana.”
The 2009 case went all the way to the Montana Supreme Court, where judges weighed the legal implications of allowing doctors to hasten the deaths of their terminally ill patients. The Supreme Court ultimately said it could find “find no indication in Montana law that physician aid in dying provided to terminally ill, mentally competent adult patients is against public policy.”
Hartwell and the rest of the Senate will decide later today whether to enshrine in Vermont law a citizen’s right to request a lethal dose of medication from their doctor.
The drama surrounding today’s vote stems in part from the uncertainty of its outcome. Hartwell, a Bennington County Democrat, was among the four lawmakers who had yet to announce publicly where they stand.
Earlier today, the ranks of the undecideds shrank to three when Sen. John Rodgers announced that he’ll be voting in favor of the legislation.
The Senate chamber is packed today with supporters and opponents of a controversial legislation that promises to engender an inspired floor debate.
We’ll bring you updates on this historic debate throughout the morning and afternoon, and have the vote to you as soon as it’s counted.MORE IN This Just In
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Patrick McArdle reports and the theft of an $89,000 shotgun, police release a video of the Monday Castleton robbery, O'Gorman reports a lawsuit by a local man claiming his vehicle unlawfully seized, police leave him in cold.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Giles Corey of Salem, Mass., is pressed to death during the Salem witch trials; on this day in 1952, film comedian Charlie Chaplin, while traveling to England, is denied re-entry into the United States by U.S. attorney general.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Dutch father of microbiology Antonie van Leeuwenhoek discovers the existence of one-celled organisms; in 1967, The Doors are booked to play the Ed Sullivan show; in 1858, freedom fighter Dred Scott dies on this day in St. Louis.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: No money this year for western rail project, Lola Aiken memorialized in Montpelier, Supreme Court Castleton murder suspect will remain in jail, Shaftbury man fires shots from his AK-47 into neighbor's home.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev arrives in U.S. for historic 13-day visit; in 1987, Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze sign nuclear reduction agreement.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City celebrates completion of its newest mural, on West Street opposite the post office, more than $2 million in federal grants will bolster Vermont's health centers, Patrick McArdle reports on pending sale of Vermont papers.