Unless something very unexpected happens in the next few hours, the California State Legislature this afternoon will pass legislation that enables California citizens—12 percent of the U.S. population—to end their own lives with the help of a physician. Two days ago the California State Assembly passed the assisted suicide legislation that proponents had slipped back onto the legislative agenda during a special session California Governor Jerry Brown had convened to talk about health care financing. The same bill had failed to get through the Health Care Committee of the House just a few months ago, and was pulled by proponents who saw that it wasn't going to pass.
As we speak the California State Senate is debating the measure. (You can watch it live here.) It's a pretty remarkable conversation, notable for the heartfelt conviction on all sides. (One Senator just noted that to pass legislation on the very day that so many other Americans gave their lives so that people might live seems a terrible mistake.) But the Senate already passed the prior version of this bill early in the summer. So most likely it will pass the legislation again.
Governor Brown could still veto the bill. Some think he will precisely because of the back door method proponents have used to get the job done. It's too important a piece of legislation to be enacted in such a shady, rushed way.