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State House votes to outlaw ‘suicide kits’

SALEM — The Oregon House has voted to make it illegal to assist another person in committing suicide, a move that targets so-called suicide kits that can be bought on the Internet.

The House’s 52-6 vote Monday sends the bill back to the Senate, which unanimously approved it last month but must sign off on changes made in the House.

Sen. Floyd Prozanski, a Democrat, proposed the measure after a 29-year-old Eugene man took his own life with the help of a suicide kit he purchased online for $60.

The bill does not conflict with Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act, which allows physician-assisted suicide in certain circumstances. The state says 65 Oregonians took their lives under the law in 2010.

Physician-assisted suicide is also legal in Washington and Montana.


Court: Teens can’t be suspended for Web parodies

PHILADELPHIA — Two teens cannot be disciplined at school for MySpace parodies of their principals created from off-campus computers, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The postings, however lewd or offensive, were not likely to cause significant disruptions at school and are therefore protected under previous Supreme Court case law on student speech, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found.

“Today’s court decision states that you cannot punish students for off-campus speech simply because it offends or criticizes [school officials],” said Witold Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which represented both students.

However, six judges who dissented in one case said they feared salacious online attacks against school officials would go unpunished.

From wire dispatches and staff reports