Legislative Update

The public hearing for HB 1659, the Death with Dignity bill, was held on Feb. 12 before the House Judiciary Committee. First, we want to thank all of you who attended, testified, wrote e-mails and made phone calls. We will be posting the testimony on this site in the coming weeks. Each of your voices is extremely important when legislation is proposed and considered.

From left, National Death with Dignity staff members Peter Korchnak and Valerie Lovelace, and New Hampshire volunteers Cheri Bach, Bob McCown, and Rebecca Brown before the hearing on HB1659 at the NH State House Feb. 12.

Well over 100 people attended the hearing, showing that this issue is very important to a lot of NH residents. As we fully expected, those in opposition were present and testified in about equal numbers to those who testified in support.  

The Judiciary Committee voted 11 – 8 along party lines to refer the bill to Interim Study. This means the bill will not go any further this year. It show us that there is much work to be done to build support for all terminally ill Granite Staters having the right to autonomy and control at the end of their lives.

At this point, Covid-19 precautions have suspended all legislative activities at least through mid May, and campaigns and elections are coming this summer and fall. That will be another time to raise the issue with candidates. 

In the meantime, it’s important to keep the conversation going.  There are several things that we all can be doing.

  • Keep in touch with your legislators, let them know your thoughts about Death with Dignity. 
  • Discuss end of life issues with family and friends. “Death over Dinner”   is a creative and engaging way to start the conversation. 
  • We will begin posting more resources on this website and through our e-news. If you haven’t signed up yet, please do here.
Over the course of the four-hour long hearing in the House chamber, well over 100 people attended and many offered testimony.

Hearing Changed to State Capitol

This Wednesday’s hearing (Feb. 12) on HB 1659 has been moved to Reps Hall in the NH State Capitol building. It is still at 1 p.m.  Reps Hall is the meeting place of the New Hampshire Legislature, one of the world’s largest democratic assemblies.

When you arrive, please sign in at the front. There will be a sheet where advocates and opponents can sign – and the numbers are important. If you are testifying, sign one of the cards that you will also find up front. 

Volunteers from NH Death with Dignity will be there, as well as staff from the Death with Dignity national center in Portland, Ore. We look forward to meeting you! 



Hearing Info

HB 1659, the NH Death with Dignity Act, will be heard in the Judiciary Committee of the NH Legislature on Feb. 12 at 1 p.m.  

ALERT: Because of the possibility of high turnout, this hearing may take place at Reps Hall in the State House. Please check back here for final location information. 

Sign up with us to stay informed. 

The sponsor of this bill is Rep. Catt Sandler (D-Somersworth). She’s introducing the bill at the request of a constituent – her husband. They hope he’ll have a death with dignity option as he faces his terminal illness. You can read the bill text here. For Rep. Sandler and for so many of us, this law is deeply personal. It’s about our humanity, about our having control over the quality of our lives, in consultation with our intimates and our physicians. Your help is needed! Here’s how:

  • Simply show up and sign in to support the bill at the hearing Feb. 12. There is a sign in sheet, and the committee takes note of how many people show up in favor and in opposition.
  • You can testify at the Judiciary Committee hearing Feb. 12. You can speak in person, or submit a written statement.

The most effective testimony is short, to the point, and personal. For instance:

  • Why is a Death with Dignity important to you? 
  • What in your experience brings you to this? 
  • How would this law change your life or life of a loved one?

Here is a great resource for preparing testimony for NH legislative committees.  If you appear in person, we’ll be there to support you. If you have more questions, please contact us. If you’re willing, a copy of your testimony may be very helpful as we build support for this movement. Please e-mail us a copy or bring a copy with you to Concord on the day of the hearing.  

You can email the entire committee a copy of your testimony using this address:  HouseJudiciaryCommittee@leg.state.nh.us

Testimony can be mailed to: House Judiciary Committee, NH General Court, Legislative Office Building , 33 North State Street, Concord, NH 03301

The Judiciary Committee hearing will be in Room 208 of the Legislative Office Building on 33 North State Street between Park and Capitol streets, just across from the State Capitol. Parking is on street or in municipal garages.

(Please note above that the hearing may be in the State Capitol itself) 

If this bill becomes law, New Hampshire will join nine other states where citizens suffering terminal illness have the right to control their end of life. 

New Hampshire Death with Dignity is a grassroots advocacy group supporting passage of a medical aid-in-dying law for our state. Modeled on Oregon’s time-proven Death with Dignity Act, these laws provide peace and comfort to terminally ill adults who qualify. Vermont passed Act 39, The Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act, in 2013. The Maine Death with Dignity Act went into effect in 2019.

We think New Hampshire’s terminally ill adults should have access to the same end-of-life liberty our neighbors enjoy.

It’s time, New Hampshire.

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