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Nevada Legislature: Lawmakers introduce ‘right to die’ legislation

Riley Snyder
Associated Press

A bipartisan group of Nevada senators have introduced a bill legalizing physician-assisted suicide.

SB336 was introduced in the Nevada Senate on Monday evening and would allow terminally ill patients to take medication ending their lives. Republican senators Ben Kieckhefer and Patricia Farley joined several Democratic senators in sponsoring the bill.

Democratic bill sponsor David Parks said the bill is a hybrid of similar laws in Oregon and Washington and adopts successful provisions from both states. “It works on advances that have been made in both states,” he said.

The measure would allow doctors to prescribe a lethal drug to competent but terminally ill patients, who then can self-administer the medication. Patients would need to request the procedure and could back out at any time.

The bill would also require the cause of death to be listed as the patient’s disease, rather than homicide or suicide. The bill allows health care facilities to opt out, and it prohibits life insurance companies including Medicaid from canceling a policy if a patient decides to end his or her life.

A number of states have introduced similar legislation. But only Oregon, Washington and Vermont allow the practice.

Kieckhefer said he supported the concept behind the bill, but he added that it might have a hard time making it through the Republican-controlled Legislature.

“It seems pretty Nevadan to me to let people make decisions about their own lives,” he said. But as for its chances of passing, Kieckhefer said: “I think it will be a bumpy road.”