July 12. 2013 8:39PM

Hassan vetoes bill to form end-of-life study committee

CONCORD — Gov. Maggie Hassan on Friday issued her first veto of her term, rejecting as unnecessary legislation that created a committee to study “end of life decisions.”

House Bill 403 was passed by the House 212-140 in February and by the Senate on a voice vote in May. But Hassan cited existing statute and a new bill she signed into law regarding “advance directive” life-sustaining treatment in her veto message.

She said, “With any discussion of the complex and emotional issues related to end-of-life decisions, our focus must always be first and foremost on helping all of those in our society to fully live their lives with the dignity that they deserve.

“In New Hampshire, we have approached these issues very seriously and thoughtfully, always seeking to include the input of those who understand these issues best: doctors, patients, advocates for the elderly and those who experience chronic conditions or disabilities, and the people of New Hampshire.

“This thoughtful process has already produced important laws, including New Hampshire’s advance directive statute (RSA 137-J). In fact, I have just signed into law SB 170, which sought input from numerous stakeholders, ranging from the medical community, patients, advocates for the elderly and people who experience disabilities, the religious community, and many others, in order to clarify New Hampshire’s advance directive statute.

“Therefore, I see no need for the study committee outlined by HB 403 and have vetoed the legislation,” Hassan wrote.