The current (May 25) edition of the Manchester Journal contains an article in which two southern VT state Senators give their opinions on the 2012 session of the Vermont legislature. Only one of the two Senators, Robert Hartwell, A Bennington County Democrat, mentioned the assisted suicide bill. According to the article, he told the Journal that “there were a couple of issues in particular that proved to be time consuming” and “sapped the Senate of precious time.” One of these was assisted suicide, the other the unionization of early childhood daycare and teaching staff. Here’s what he had to say about them:
“They didn’t get vetted, reviewed, investigated in committee the way you normally expect bills to be. So, they never really got out of committee. So the advocates expended an enormous amount of time trying to append those two (bills) to other legislation,” something which he told the Journal many senators considered inappropriate. The article can be read at http://www.manchesterjournal.com/ci_20693010/state-senators-reflect-recent-session?IADID=Search-www.manchesterjournal.com-www.manchesterjournal.com&IADID=Search-www.manchesterjournal.com-www.manchesterjournal.com.
Hartwell’s insights are particularly interesting in the light of a poll published last winter by Vermont Centers for Independent Living, a Disability Rights group. The poll found not only that expressed support for assisted suicide is slowly dropping as Vermonters become more educated on its dangers, but also that Vermont citizens did not want legalization to be a priority in the legislature in 2012, a year when so many other pressing issues needed attention. The Centers for Independent Living Press Release on the poll can be read at http://www.vcil.org/about/press-releases-2/survey-says-physician-assisted-suicide-not-a-priority-for-vermonters.
Hartwell told the Journal that the Senate wasted time on assisted suicide and that some of these pressing issues still need to be addressed. We need to make sure our politicians know, during this legislative vacation and electoral season, that we want legislators who will take care of them, rather than wasting more time on assisted suicide.