OLYMPIA – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law Senate Bill 5179, which updates Washington’s Death with Dignity Act, on Friday. Rep. Skyler Rude (R-Walla Walla) has spent four years trying to make changes to the act, and said that the Senate bill contains some of the changes he is pushing for.
Rude said that since the Death with Dignity Act took effect in 2008, there have been many residents who were eligible to use the law, they have been unable to do so due to long waiting periods and their inability to find medical providers. The Death with Dignity Act allows mentally competent, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to request a lethal prescription from their doctors.
While Senate Bill 5179 does not expand who is eligible, it does seek to improve access to the act by allowing prescription mail delivery with delivery safeguards, reducing the waiting period from 15 days to seven days, expanding the list of practitioners allowed to participate in the law, and requiring the Washington State Department of Health to post hospitals and hospices’ policies online.
“The bill maintains safeguards to ensure the law is not misused,” Rude said.
Senate Bill 5179 will take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the 2023 session.
Photo: Rep. Rude is on the left as Gov. Inslee (seated) signs Senate Bill 5179.