Local government resolutions, proclamations or declarations in support of medical aid in dying send an important message about the values of a community and its citizens. Local resolutions also alert state legislators that other levels of government support medical aid in dying. Passing a local resolution can be an effective strategy to further state legislative efforts to authorize medical aid in dying.

What Is a Local Resolution?

A local resolution is an expression of support or recognition from an elected city or county body, such as a council, board, assembly or commission. Every city and county has different procedures regarding public statements, and they may have different names. Often, it is a mayor who issues such declarations — or signs or vetoes those passed by a city council. In some jurisdictions, a resolution is actually a binding commitment for city lawmakers. Regardless of the small differences, in every city- or county-elected body, there is a mechanism for the elected representatives to vote on and issue some kind of public declaration expressing their support or opposition to — or at least acknowledgment of — a matter of public importance or interest.

Resolutions and other declarations on medical aid in dying have been critical momentum-builders in states like California, during our campaign to pass a statewide law. They can also be enormously important to generate awareness in states where we are still building capacity and laying the foundation for future legislative efforts.