With Rodgers’ support, proponents one vote closer to victory on end-of-life bill

With the newly won support of Sen. John Rodgers, backers of a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients have inched one vote closer to the 16 they’ll need to win passage.

Rodgers this morning said a poll conducted on his behalf by Patient Choices Vermont has cemented his decision to support the legislation. Adam Necrason, a lobbyist for Patient Choices, said the survey, conducted by Lincoln Park Strategies, cost about $5,000. Results that arrived over the weekend, Rodgers said, showed 60 percent of residents in his two-county district would support “legislation to give a mentally competent adult dying of a terminal disease with a diagnosis of less than six months to live the right to request and take medication to peacefully hasten death.”

The poll was of 400 registered voters in Essex and Orleans Counties.

“The voters are so overwhelmingly in favor of this that it makes me comfortable voting for something I was leaning in favor of anyway,” Rodgers said this morning.

Rodgers was one of four senators who had yet to announce publicly whether they’ll be supporting the bill. With Rodgers support, proponents will now need ‘yes’ votes from two of the other three undecideds.

The full Senate will debate the measure later this morning before delivering the key vote.