Companion death with dignity bills, the Wisconsin Compassionate Choices Act, did not advance in the 2019-2020 legislative session.
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It is my solemn hope that in the near future, Wisconsinites facing imminent death, have an option to avoid pain and suffering by making a final and dignified choice—to spend their final moments with their loved ones in a manner and at a time of their choosing.
Wisconsin has a long history of considering aid-in-dying bills.
A number of Wisconsin state legislators co-sponsored a pair of companion death with dignity bills, the Compassionate Choices Act. The bills were referred to each respective legislative chamber’s health committees.
SB 499, the Compassionate Choices Act
- Introduced on October 10, 2019
- Full text of SB 499
- Legislative history of SB 499
- Primary sponsor: Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison)
- Referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services
AB 552, the Compassionate Choices Act
- Introduced on October 18, 2019
- Full text of AB 552
- Legislative history of AB 552
- Primary sponsor: Representative Sondy Pope (D-Cross Plains)
- Referred to the Assembly Committee on Health
Wisconsin State Representatives Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton), Sondy Pope (D-Cross Plains), and 12 additional co-sponsors sponsored AB 216, the Compassionate Choices Act.
Introducing the bill, Representative Pope said, “[i]t is inhumane to force a person with a terminal illness to suffer needlessly. A compassionate society would allow them the choice to spend their last days where and with whomever they choose.”
A companion bill, SB 312, was introduced in the Assembly on June 23, 2017.
The bills failed to pass.
In March 2015, Senator Risser and Representatives Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) and Sondy Pope (D-Cross Plains) introduced companion Death with Dignity measures, AB 67 and SB 26, in the Senate and Assembly, respectively. The bills were carried over to 2016 and stalled in committee.
The 2015-2016 session was the 8th time a death with dignity bill was introduced in the prior 20 years. No bill was heard in any of the previous seven attempts: