House Democrats approve bill eroding protections for vulnerable Oregonians receiving end-of-life care




Salem, Ore. – On a party-line vote, House Democrats today voted to approve legislation that erodes protections for vulnerable Oregonians receiving end of life care. Under current law, end-of-life decisions and advanced directive orders are protected by a specific process outlined in Oregon statute. HB 4135 has the potential to transfer power away from patients and into the hands of health care representatives and would task an unelected committee with shaping advanced directive laws moving forward.


“Under HB 4135, the legal authority of a health care representative in the state of Oregon could change to allow a health care representative to make a life-ending decision for an incapable person without his or her specific prior written consent in situations where a health care representative does not have this authority under current law,” said Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence).


Republicans argued the erosion of these protections could lead to unintended consequences related to the end-of-life care of Oregonians. Republicans were also critical of the process that produced HB 4135, citing the exclusion of pro-life advocates from participating in shaping the policy and the rushed nature of the bill’s passage.


“This bill is the perfect example of why Republicans are so critical of short sessions,” said Representative Bill Kennemer (R-Canby/Oregon City. “Just over two weeks into a legislative session, we are talking about significantly changing a law that has been on the books for more than 25 years. Surely an issue as important as this deserves more consideration than that. I am also concerned to hear that some opponents were excluded from policy discussions on this topic and that this measure was passed along party lines”


HB 4135 passed the House by a vote of 35-25.




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