We are very excited to announce that Maine Death with Dignity, formerly a state political action committee (PAC), transitioned to a 501(c)(3) non-profit on October 1, 2019.
To clarify, a little history is important.
In 2013, Valerie Lovelace founded a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit called It’s My Death (IMD). As a part of IMD’s mission of providing services and education to people who wish to actively explore the meaning of life through embracing the certainty of death, Valerie felt that understanding Oregon’s law and the debate it generally arouses was important for deciding whether one supports or opposes.
As a public service, Valerie educated hundreds of advocates and lawmakers from 2013 through 2017 to ensure understanding of the issue, the opposition, and the legislative process. Raising awareness generated well-informed support for Senator Roger Katz’s (Kennebec) bills, LD 1270 (2015) and LD 347 (2017). IMD’s partnership with Oregon’s Death with Dignity National Center in 2015 bolstered momentum for this important issue.
Why was a Political Action Committee needed?
When LD 347 failed to pass in 2017, Valerie decided to pursue a citizen’s referendum effort. She, along with five other Maine voters, applied to the Secretary of State’s office to petition. She registered the Maine Death with Dignity Political Committee, and in partnership with the national team in Oregon, lead the campaign. PAC and grassroots supporters organized and started gathering signatures in Maine 2018. It was a successful effort.
The PAC prepared to submit more than 72,000 valid signatures in May of 2019. Meanwhile, an identical same bill traveled through the legislative process as LD 1313, sponsored by Representative Patty Hymanson of York.
This dual effort (legislation and initiative) together with a new administration in Augusta created the perfect storm, and LD 1313 passed both House and Senate after floor debates. Governor Mills signed LD 1313 into law on June 12, 2019. The Maine Death with Dignity Act went into effect on September 19, 2019 after a veto effort failed to get enough signatures to stop it.
That completed the PAC’s purpose. It’s My Death applied to the state to conduct business under the name Maine Death with Dignity, and after approval, began the work of implementation under the non-profit’s 501(c)(3).
Our transition is an exciting change.
Maine Death with Dignity now operates as a 501(c)(3) and, as such, your donations are eligible for tax exemption. We will continue the original mission of providing services and education to people who wish to actively explore the meaning of life through embracing the certainty of death.
Increasing patient and provider awareness of the Maine Death with Dignity Act is an integral part of that mission, as is ensuring that people have needed information to access the law.
Through the end of the year, we’ll be adding additional content to our website regarding other aspects of end-of-life living and dying in Maine.
We will continue providing you with updates regarding implementation of the Maine Death with Dignity Act.