Agudath Israel of California celebrated the recent passage of AB 987. The bill would prohibit an employer from retaliating or discriminating against an employee who requests an accommodation based on religious belief. It passed out of the Legislature without opposition and is currently on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk. Agudath Israel is a co-sponsoring organization on this bill and anticipates the Governor signing it into law soon.
Physician-assisted suicide, however, will not become law this year in California. The Assembly Health Committee were supposed to hear SB 128, the California End of Life Option Act, this week. However, the authors pulled the physician-assisted suicide bill from consideration last Tuesday, because they did not have enough votes on the committee to move it forward. The roadblock came from a few Democratic assembly members from indigent and minority districts, who felt that their constituents were more concerned with their lack of access to healthcare than terminating treatment at the end of life. Despite this opposition, it is expected that the legislation will pick up next year where it left off, and will pass with additional amendments. The authors have already accepted most of the amendments proposed by Agudath Israel of California, yet Agudath Israel remains opposed to the legislation, as there are still outstanding issues to deal with regarding protection of patients from coercion.
Dr. Irving Lebovics, Agudath Israel of California’s chairman, penned and op-ed expressing his concerns with the bill. It was published last week in the Sacramento Bee (see op-ed here).