Summarized by Kent Larsen
Bill To Overturn Oregon Assisted Suicide Law Approaches Vote
WASHINGTON, DC -- The political struggle over Oregon's physician-assisted
suicide law may reach a vote in the US Senate soon, as the Senate considers
the Pain Relief Promotion Act, which would essentially overturn the Oregon
law. The LDS Church opposed the Oregon law when it was passed by referendum
in 1994 and again in a 1997 effort to overturn it. Oregon Senator Gordon
Smith, an LDS Church member, decided in April to support the Pain Relief
Promotion Act, going against the wishes of the majority of his constituents.
On Friday, Senator Don Nickles (R-Okla.), the 2nd ranking Republican in the
Senate, said that he is prepared to force a vote on the bill, in spite of a
filibuster threat from Oregon's other Senator, Ron Wyden. Under the Senate's
rules, Wyden can tie up the Senate, because the rules allow unlimited debate
on a bill. To end the debate and force a vote, Nickles would need 60
Senators to sign a cloture petition. Drawing on loyalty and trading favors,
Wyden may be able to get enough supporters to keep the debate open, in spite
of broad support to pass the bill.
Still, Nickles says he has enough votes to end the filibuster, if necessary,
and expects a vote before the August break.
Deal may force vote on suicide debate
Portland OR Oregonian 22Jul00 N2
By Jim Barnett: The Oregonian Staff