STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS - MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2014
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
'DEATH WITH DIGNITY' BILL SENT TO STUDY
A proposal to allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication for terminally ill patients was relegated to a legislative study, effectively ending its chances of moving forward this session. Rep. Louis Kafka, (D-Stoughton), who filed the bill (H 1998), said it was not unexpected that lawmakers on the Public Health Committee decided Tuesday to send it to study. Voters in 2012 narrowly rejected a ballot question similar to the bill filed by Kafka, with 51 percent opposed and 49 percent in favor, a margin of 67,891 votes. The legislation Kafka filed would give terminally ill adults with less than six months to live the option to request medication from a physician to end their own life. Kafka said did not expect the controversial issue would be something lawmakers would tackle this legislative session. He said he filed the bill mainly to "keep the issue in people's minds." He believes it will eventually be decided by voters. "Given that it was so close last time, the committee may feel it should go before the people again," Kafka said. - C. Quinn/SHNS
CATHOLIC BISHOPS BACK MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE: The state's Roman Catholic bishops stated Wednesday that the current $8 per hour minimum wage is "insufficient to support and uphold the dignity of individuals and families." The statement of support for a minimum wage increase from the clergy arrived on the eve of a planned vote by the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development for minimum wage and unemployment insurance legislation that would then make its way to the House floor.