Lawmakers Tackle End-Of-Life Bill In Final Week

An emotional debate on how North Carolinians can control the last days of their lives has produced a measure meant to clarify laws governing living wills and health care powers of attorney.

State law on living wills was enacted in 1979 and other end-of-life statutes were added over the following couple of decades. Wake County Representative Deborah Ross says that led to a jumble of contradictory and confusing policies.

Ross urged House members to look past the way the measure reached the floor, which was by replacing the contents of her original, unrelated bill with a Senate measure that had lingered on the House calendar.

The bill was approved on a 68-to-48 concurrence vote and now awaits Governor Easley's signature. It was one of several significant pieces of legislation considered today as the General Assembly gave final approval to a 20 billion dollar state budget.