On June 12, 2019 Governor Mills made Maine the 9th state in the nation to adopt what is widely known as the “Death with Dignity Act”. Laws of this nature have been political and social lightning rods throughout the United States. This article will take no stance on the moral issues that surround the debate, rather it will breakdown what the Death with Dignity Act requires of potential patients.
Note, this article does not break down all the specifics of each step, please click the link below to read the act in its entirety:
The Maine law has established an extensive process that prospective “qualified terminally ill patients” must go through before a physician may prescribe any end of life medication. Below is the overview of the step-by-step process required by the Act:
- To obtain “qualified terminally ill status”, a patient MUST be a Maine resident who is determined to be “competent” by BOTH an attending physician and a consulting physician;
- The individual MUST have been informed of a terminal diagnosis with a life expectancy of less than 6 months;
- Prior to a doctor writing a prescription for end of life medication, the individual MUST make 2 oral requests and 1 written request, to his/her attending physician and a 15-day waiting period must pass between the first and second oral request;
- To be “competent” the individual must have the capacity to communicate his/her decision to a health care professional or health care facility. If the individual is deemed not competent, he/she may be referred to a qualified mental health professional who will issue a written report confirming or denying competency;
- If the report deems the individual competent, the report must also state that the individual is acting voluntarily and has made an informed decision to administer end of life medication;
- The individual MUST also be informed on his/her prognosis, the potential risks of taking the medication, and the probable result. In addition, the attending physician is required to inform the individual of feasible alternatives including additional treatment, hospice care, pain control, palliative care and/or comfort care;
- The attending physician MUST refer the individual to a consulting physician who MUST examine all the medical records and confirm the diagnosis in writing and verify that the individual is competent, acting voluntarily, and making an informed decision;
- The written request MUST be witnessed by 2 or more people. At LEAST 1 witness MUST meet the below criteria;
- May not be related by blood, marriage, or adoption;
- May not be an heir, or inherit from the patient’s estate in any capacity under any will or by operation of any law, at the time of signing;
- Must not be an owner, operator, or employee of a health care facility where the qualified patient is receiving medical treatment or is a resident.
- The patient’s attending physician, at the time the written request is signed, MAY NOT be a witness.
- If the patient is in, or receiving treatment at, a long-term care facility at the time of the written request, ONE of the witnesses MUST be an individual designated by the facility who has qualifications specified by the department by rule.
- All witnesses, in writing, MUST affirm that the individual can make this decision and is acting voluntarily;
- Finally, if after 48 hours of completing all the required steps, and such required steps are documented in the individual’s medical chart, and receiving the individual’s written request (after the previously required oral requests), the attending physician may write the end of life prescription. The attending physician is responsible for verifying the accuracy of documentation.
The “Death with Dignity” Act is built to have numerous safeguards in place. It goes without saying a decision like this is incredibly emotional. If you or a loved one has any questions about the new law, please reach out to an Elder Law Attorney.
At Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice we have 30 years of elder law experience. Bob Raftice and Eleanor Dominguez are available. If you need help understanding the new law, or any of the associated steps, please call us today.
Jerome Gamache has once again helped excited buyers close on a dream business opportunity here in Maine. Dawn and Cassidy Gintz searched all over the country before finding the Captain Nickels Inn in Searsport, Maine. They are excited to embark on this new journey and we wish them all the best!
Jerome has helped buyers and sellers all over Maine. If you are looking to buy or sell a personal home, a commercial business, an inn by the ocean, or even raw land, the Real Estate Team at Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice is here to help. Contact us today to set up an appointment!
Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice has serviced Mainers for decades. On June 14th, 2019, Governor Mills signed “An Act to Update the Laws Governing Child Safety Seats and Seat Belts”. Feel free to click the link to read the version loaded with legalesee, but the major updates are addressed below:
Children Under the Age of 2 Must Be: (<2 yrs, unless exceeding manufacturer’s weight limit)
- Properly secured in a rear-facing child restraint or convertible child restraint system in accordance with the manufacturer’s and vehicle’s instructions;
- However, if your under 2 year old child exceeds the manufacturer’s recommended weight limit they may be secured in a forward-facing system.
Children 2 Years or Older AND Weighing Less than 55 Pounds: (>2 yrs,<55 lbs)
- This section applies to any child above the age of 2 AND weighing less than 55 pounds;
- They must be secured in a child restraint system in accordance with the manufacturer’s and vehicle’s instructions.
- No requirement to be rear facing.
Children Less than 8 AND, Less than 80 Pounds, AND Less than 57 inches in height: (<8 yrs,<80 lbs, <57 inches)
- Remember this is once again “AND” language, which means all of the criteria need to be met to apply!
- This group must be secured in a “properly secured belt positioning seat” (booster or car seat), in accordance with manufacturer’s and vehicle’s instructions.
Children Less than 12 Years Old AND Less than 100 Pounds: (<12 yrs, <100 lbs)
- If possible, properly secured in the rear seat of the vehicle (seat belt).
- The key language here is “if possible” but it is safe to assume most circumstances will make this possible. Remember, this update to the law requires that for children less than 12 years of age AND under 100 pounds.
- Example: If you have a car full of 11 year olds, 3 of them weigh 90 pounds and 1 weighs 101 pounds, the 11 year old who weighs 101 pounds should sit in front.
All Other Children Under 18: (<18 yrs, doesn’t fit other categories)
- Must be properly secured with a seat belt.
While there are the new laws of Maine, we ALWAYS recommend utilizing a seat belt. It does not matter how old you are or how much experience you have on the road, an accident can happy at any time and without warning.
About once a week our Criminal team fields a call from someone who was arrested and wants us to “get the case dismissed” because no one “read (them) me my rights.” Just like criminal cases are not investigated, tried, and decided in one hour like on T.V.; you do not always need to have your “rights” read to you. In fact, the vast majority of police contact does not require an officer to read you any warnings at all. If the police arrest you AND THEN ask questions about a crime you are suspected of, only then do they need to “Mirandize” you. It is perfectly normal to be arrested and never hear anything about your rights.
The “rights” we are talking about refer to your “Miranda Rights.” Miranda v. Arizona from 1966 discusses your right to NOT incriminate yourself in any criminal proceeding. The right to be free from self-incrimination is bestowed upon all of us via the 5th Amendment. If you have ever seen any crime drama, you may know the warning by heart:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”
If you refer to my last Criminal blog post, you will know the answer to that last question is NO.
It is extremely rare for a criminal defendant to help themselves by talking to authorities without consulting an attorney. You may, in fact, be innocent, but you are already a suspect, and there is nothing you can say at that point to make them remove the handcuffs. Therefore, say nothing, and ask to speak with an attorney before answering any substantive questions.
Law enforcement might try a variety of tactics to get you to talk (i.e. “You must be guilty if you are not talking”, “If you tell me, I can help you”, etc.) You DO have to answer basic questions of who you are, age, address, etc, but if you are at all in doubt about the situation, say nothing beyond that. Be respectful but protect yourself until you can enlist the help of an attorney. The truth may “set you free”, and a good attorney can make sure your facts get to the right people. Call our experienced Criminal Law team today.
The Constitution of the United States contains something that is referred to as “The Supremacy Clause”. This clause was put in the Constitution to clear up any ambiguity or conflicts that could arise when laws of the State differed from the laws of the Federal Government. In short, any activity that involves marijuana currently is in violation of Federal Law, so why have states, including Maine, continued to publish new rules or to allow new businesses to emerge?
The short answer is opportunity. There are many theories as to why marijuana was made illegal; my personal favorite being that the founding fathers all grew tobacco and didn’t want the competition. With the passing of the Farm Bill and new proposed banking initiatives working their way through the House and Senate, it is logical to see a path to legality. While not official, the Federal Government has been content to leave local marijuana businesses alone if they comply with all local laws (and pay Federal taxes!).
The new draft rules lay out what businesses need to be doing to prepare for application day. While the rules still need to be submitted for comment and approved by the legislator, the time to begin working on your business plan is now.
Compliance is going to control the industry. Given the anticipated demand for licenses, one slip by you or a business partner could find you sitting on the sidelines. Does your ownership group have the right makeup? Are there any “disqualifying drug offenses”? Are all your officers “Residents” as defined by the rules?
There are many issues to consider when starting a marijuana business. If you, or someone you know, want to learn more about the process, please reach out to Ainsworth, Thelin & Raftice and set up an appointment with Michael Vaillancourt, Chris Piasecki or Jake Bowie.