Thursday, March 1, 2018

Legislators Did Not Know the Text of What They Were Voting On

Scott Nishimoto
"'Pass it then read it,'
 a member of the public
 shouted out sarcastically.'

The committees also added another hurdle before a patient could receive the prescription. Aside from needing two medical providers confirming the terminal diagnoses, the six-months-or-less-to-live prognosis and medical competence, the patient must also undergo counseling by a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist, but could do so by phone.

Hawaii would be the first state to require counseling, Mizuno said. He added that the tele-health provision would help make it easier for residents in Hawaii to comply with the counseling requirement, recognizing that some live in rural areas far from doctors.

The committees also lengthened the time the patient must wait between making two verbal requests for medically assisted death. Instead of 14 days, the amended version now calls for 20 days. One signed written request, witnessed by two people (one unrelated to the patient), is also required.

McDermott, one of the two committee members to vote against the bill, was not provided a copy of the amendments prior to the hearing.

"I don't know what we're voting on," he said as Nishimoto called for the vote.

Nishimoto said that given the time constraints, working on changes to the bill up until 15 minutes before the hearing started, he did not have an opportunity to give McDermott a copy.

"Pass it then read it," a member of the public shouted out sarcastically.

Tehotu said after the hearing that she found it "heartbreaking" that McDermott had to vote on something without even seeing a draft.

Belatti read quickly through the amendments at the beginning of the hearing but copies were not distributed. Civil Beat has requested a copy.

Tupola said in a release after the hearing that she was too was frustrated by not receiving the amended version before the vote. She said during the hearing that she appreciated all the changes made to the bill, but still opposed it.