HELENA — The Montana Senate is deciding to allowing debate on two measures that had been stuck in committee

The chamber voted 31-17 Thursday to advance a measure that would criminalize physician-assisted suicide. The measure had been tied up in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Supporters say House Bill 505 is needed to protect elderly people from potential abuse. Opponents, led by Democrats, argue people have the right to die with dignity when facing certain death.

The bill would penalize the doctors and caregivers who participate in the practice.

The Legislature has struggled with physician-assisted suicide since a 2009 state Supreme Court ruling that said nothing in state law prohibits it. The ruling effectively made Montana the third state to legalize the practice, though the lack of regulations and reporting requirements makes it impossible to know how many physician-assisted suicides have taken place.

The Senate has already killed a bill clarifying in law that it is legal, and establishing formal regulations.

The Senate also decided in a 26-22 vote to advance to the floor a measure that seeks a little more disclosure on campaign materials from so-called "dark money" group.

House Bill 254 requires a disclaimer on materials paid for by anonymous sources.

The issue splits the Republican caucus. Some Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the move to bring it out for debate.

Both are scheduled for full debate on Friday.

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(4) comments

Howard Wilkinson
Howard Wilkinson

There are a surprising number of sick, perverted and twisted humans who apparently feel that those facing imminent slow miserable death should receive a full measure of suffering before being allowed to depart this life. The same people I am sure who delight in torturing small animals, and probably molesting children... or perhaps they own shares in nursing homes. Those folks are so utterly lacking in compassion, were there any justice at all would find themselves in this situation eventually!! A person who has no real possibility of recovery should be allowed to end their sufferings, and many do not have the means to take matters into their own hands by that point. Many patients these days are able to "manage pain" through self administered pain killers..... simply allow them to make the decision and OD on morphine or some such and slip away peacefully if they request that option.

fretwalker
fretwalker

--Thumbs up sir.

notinmontana
notinmontana

Amen!

robtocomment
robtocomment

Someone who is against giving one person the legal right to be part of intentionally killing another person is called a "sick, perverted and twisted human"! Ha! Most of the people in this country who exhibit the most compassion --- hospice workers, disability rights advocates, medical doctors, nurses, etc --- are OPPOSED to assisted suicide.

Warning: In a day of governments and corporations cutting medical care costs, providing $75 death pills can be very attractive alternative to expensive medical treatments.

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