Last Thursday I took lunch in the cafeteria. We are often entertained for meals by agencies or lobbying groups that provide a spread and make a pitch. But this day I wanted to just sit for a bit.
Coming into a cafeteria with tables of people all talking can remind one of high school. In high school I always ate a sack lunch and would sit on the lawn to avoid the “who to sit with” lunchroom dilemma. Sometimes people would join me.
This day in the Capitol cafeteria I chose not to join anyone but put my tray down on an empty table. Before I was done with my salad I looked up to see another freshman legislator. I had met him in orientation. Our eyes met and he joined me. We talked about calving a bit because that is what he had dealt with on his ranch when he went home last weekend. I learned a little about calving from the time I worked with a veterinarian before medical school. I can talk generalities and understand some of the problems.
As I was finishing my pita and shaking the ice in my glass he looked at me and said, “So you’re a doctor. Would you mind me asking you about House Bill 1028?”
“What’s that one?” I have not studied the bills on the House side by number yet. I figure to let them percolate through and just study what will be on the test.
“It’s the one that makes the doctors follow patients’ Advance Directives.”
“Oh yeah, that one.” I had heard of the attempt to fix the Freedom of Conscience for Health Care Professionals Act. (See INSPIRE post). The Act had allowed health care professionals to follow their conscience and this brought up a fear among folks that their end-of-life wishes would be ignored. This bill was an attempt to fix this, when, in my opinion the “Freedom of Conscience Act should never have passed in the first place. My cattle-rancher colleague got to hear me talk about the history of the bill, my objections to it and the difficult spot we are in trying to fix a flawed piece of legislation.
He did not act bored. I might have gone on too long but I can get pretty passionate about our duty to our fellow man and the futility of legislation to enforce this. I think he heard me. He thanked me as we toted our trays to the cart.