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Why Pennsylvania Lawmaker Mark Rozzi Has Introduced a Death with Dignity Bill

Why Pennsylvania Lawmaker Mark Rozzi Has Introduced a Death with Dignity Bill

Lucio (left) and son Mark Rozzi

Courtesy Mark Rozzi

For Mark Rozzi, watching his father die of a glioblastoma was gut-wrenching.

It was just a matter of weeks – from when Lucio Rozzi first went into the hospital with headaches in mid-May 2001 to his death on June 25. Yet even during that time, the younger Rozzi felt his father was gone long before he died.

“I looked in his eyes and he was not there,” Mark, 43, a Democratic state representative from Berks County, Pennsylvania, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview.

That was on June 17, Father’s Day, after the family rushed Lucio, 63, of Temple, Pennsylvania, to the hospital when he had “severe trouble speaking and lost control of his body,” Mark says.

“As he came into the hospital he whispered to me that he loved me,” Rozzi says. “Then he was taken right up to the operating room.”

After that surgery, “the only way we could communicate was through our eyes.”

“My heart broke for my dad because I knew he would never speak words between us again,” he says. “I could see in his eyes he was asking me to please let him go. He knew he did not want to ‘live’ this way.”

So when Brittany Maynard launched her online video campaign with Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life choice advocacy organization, to fight for expanding Death with Dignity laws nationwide, he knew what he had to do.

Nine days later after Maynard released her first video, Mark introduced a bill that mirrors the one in Oregon.

Maynard’s story “just struck a chord,” he says. “I knew what my dad went through. I thought it would be a good way to honor my father.”

Maynard, 29, who likely had a glioblastoma, ended her own life Nov. 1 with medication prescribed to her by her doctor, something that is legal for certain terminally ill patients in Oregon.

Why Pennsylvania Lawmaker Mark Rozzi Has Introduced a Death with Dignity Bill

Brittany Maynard

Courtesy Brittany Maynard

But Maynard and her family first had to move to Oregon from California and establish residency so she could get access to the state’s Death with Dignity Act.

“I want Pennsylvanians to be able to stay in Pennsylvania surrounded by family and friends,” Mark says.

Oregon is one of only five states that authorizes aid in dying. Maynard’s advocacy also galvanized efforts already underway in New Jersey to get right-to-die legislation passed.

Maynard wrote about these efforts on her website Oct. 22.

“Something monumental has started to happen,” she wrote. “Last week alone lawmakers in Connecticut and New Jersey came forward in support of [Death with Dignity] bills, and promised to put them back in the spotlight.

“I won’t live to see the [Death With Dignity] movement reach critical mass,” she wrote to supporters, “but I call on you to carry it forward.”

Rozzi knows getting his bill passed will likely be an uphill battle.

“Pennsylvania is a little conservative and with the recent elections, the House and Senate have become more conservative,” he says. “The key is getting the people of Pennsylvania behind it; having their voices heard.”

He quietly introduced the bill – without a press conference or even a press release – on Oct. 15.

“I wanted to get it in before we left session,” he says. “I wasn’t worried about the media part. Come January we’ll start holding press conferences to publicize it.”

Though his father was a “hard-core conservative” (and a Catholic), Mark believes this is a law his father would have supported.

“I know how he was,” he says. “He made his own decisions. He didn’t need the government or the church telling him what to do.”

He also believes it’s an option his father would have wanted to have.

“He was not a guy who would want to suffer,” he says.

Why Pennsylvania Lawmaker Mark Rozzi Has Introduced a Death with Dignity Bill

Lucio Rozzi and his granddaughter McKenna

Courtesy Mark Rozzi

Why Pennsylvania Lawmaker Mark Rozzi Has Introduced a Death with Dignity Bill
Source: Why Pennsylvania Lawmaker Mark Rozzi Has Introduced a Death with Dignity Bill

Alyssa Milano: Nursing Her Newborn

Alyssa Milano: Nursing Her Newborn

In another precious breastfeeding photo, Mistresses star Alyssa Milano posted a sweet snapshot nursing her newborn via Instagram Friday.

“First day back at work! Shooting for @marieclairemag with @linhhair and @collierstrong and wearing my @marissawebb! #blessed,” the new mom-of-two, 41, captioned the beautiful image.

Last month, the Who’s The Boss? alum shared a breastfeeding selfie with her daughter Elizabella.

On September 4, Milano and husband David Bugliari welcomed their baby girl. They are also parents to 3-year-old son Milo.

Earlier this month, the actress announced that she will not be returning to her popular TV series Mistresses.

“I will miss this job desperately and wish everyone the absolute best,” said the actress, after explaining that she cannot relocate to Canada with the show.

Filed under: Alyssa Milano,Featured,Instagram

Photo credit: Instagram

Alyssa Milano: Nursing Her Newborn
Source: Alyssa Milano: Nursing Her Newborn

Jerry Seinfeld Believes He’s on the Autism Spectrum

11/07/2014 AT 01:30 PM EST

It takes a lot of guts to do standup, let alone front one of TV’s most popular sitcoms for years. But despite all of that, comedian Jerry Seinfeld says he’s not the social butterfly many assume him to be.

In an interview with Brian Williams on NBC’s Nightly News, the Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee star was self-reflective, sharing that he thinks he has a form of autism.

“I think on a very drawn-out scale, I think I’m on the [autism] spectrum,” Seinfeld tells Williams. “Basic social engagement is really a struggle.”

It’s something the 60-year-old comic has increasingly noticed over the years. “I’m very literal, when people talk to me and they use expressions, sometimes I don’t know what they’re saying,” he explains during the segment. “But I don’t see it as dysfunctional, I just think of it as an alternate mindset.”

As for how he’s able to continue to work and put himself in social settings, including his new web series in which he regularly communes with friends and other comedians, Seinfeld says, “I know that that’s the healthiest thing I can do.”

Jerry Seinfeld Believes Hes on the Autism Spectrum
Source: Jerry Seinfeld Believes He’s on the Autism Spectrum

Underused Saturday Night Live Cast Members Who Blew Up

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Saturday Night Live is known for producing comedy superstars like Kristen Wiig, Eddie Murphy, and John Belushi. But what about the Not Ready For Primetime Players who never got their moment in the spotlight on the veritable sketch show? For every Kate McKinnon that explodes, there are the Noël Wells and Brooks Wheelans who never got to show us the depths of their talent.

Chris Rock just returned to Studio 8H to host SNL this season, his first time back since his departure in 1993. Rock’s time on the show wasn’t a total bust (Nat X, y’all!) but he was never quite able to showcase the comedic voice we now associate with his persona. In an interview on the WTF podcast with Marc Maron in 2011, Rock said, “When I got hired I was the first black guy in like eight years — and In Living Color was just hip. The shit was hot. I wanted to be in an environment where I didn’t have to translate the comedy I wanted to do.” Rock ended up leaving SNL for the latter, and well, the rest is history.

Damon Wayans, now infamously, asked to be fired in 1986 when made his minimal role of a cop, outlandish and effeminate, completely derailing the sketch and going off book. He was cut immediately after.

Rock and Wayans aren’t the only comedians to go underutilized while on SNL but then blow up in theatre, film, and television afterwards. From Jenny Slate to Ben Stiller, plenty of comics have said that the Lorne Michaels machine just wasn’t the right fit for them. Check out our comprehensive gallery for a look at some comedy greats that tried their hats (or rather wigs) at sketch comedy to mixed results and still found big success.

Watch the Emmy nominated McKinnon describe her dream host/musical guest combination (spoiler: It’s Beyoncé).

[Photo: NBC/Universal, Getty Images]

Source: Underused Saturday Night Live Cast Members Who Blew Up


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