Highlights from the Field: Death Penalty Legislation Updates

February 13, 2017

These concise reports give a glimpse into the workings of this movement as seen through particular states. We are inspired by the continual movement towards the elimination of the death penalty in this country.  We hope you are too.

Repeal State: Montana

Montana

Montana is one of only a handful of states actively seeking repeal legislation.  Montana, traditionally a Republican state, almost passed repeal legislation last year, and almost achieved it again this year.

Representative Adam Hertz of Missoula, introduced House Bill 366 (HB366) on February 6th into the House Judiciary Committee. HB366 was voted down by the House Judiciary Committee by a 10-9 vote.  Unfortunately, the only way the bill could be passed this year is if it is  “blasted” out of committee. This would require a supermajority vote of  60 out of 100 possible votes to go straight to the floor.

      The ineffectiveness of the death penalty policy as a whole transcends political partisanship. This is a conversation that is taking place from the ground-level up and these sentiments must be heard by the legislators. They must know that those making up the political spectrum do not want to perpetuate a failed policy.

To reach out to Montana legislators and voice your concerns about the failed death penalty system, see this link: leg.mt.gov/

 

Repeal State: Kansas

Kansas, along with Montana, serves as another example of a conservative state actively seeking death penalty repeal legislation. Kansas hasn’t executed or convicted a death row inmate in over 50 years, and legislators are paying attention to this ineffective and failed public safety policy.

On Monday, February 13th, there was a hearing on Kansas’ bipartisan supported repeal bill, House Bill 2167 (HB2167) in the Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice. At this hearing, lawmakers, faith leaders and activists testified both for and against this bill which aims to abolish the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment without parole.

At this point, HB2167 will be voted on by the committee in the coming weeks, with an official date yet to be released. In the meantime, if you want to reach out to Kansas legislators to voice your support for HB2167, please call or email them using this link: kslegislature.org

 

Unanimous Jury State: Florida

Both Senate and House members have come together this 2017 legislative session to propose what is Floridareferred to as a Unanimous Jury Bill. In the Senate, this bill is known as Senate Bill 280 (SB280). Legislatively, anti-death penalty legislation can take two different, but very effective, faces: repeal and restriction.

In Florida’s legislative chambers, death penalty proponents and opponents are in favor of SB280. Floridian opponents have a unique opportunity right now to voice their opinion not only for death penalty restriction but also repeal. Because of the highlighted negative attention paid to the failed system of the Floridian death penalty by the press, now is the time to voice our opposition and to seek total repeal of an irreparable system.

If you want to reach out to Florida legislators and voice your concerns about the failed death penalty system, see this link: www.leg.state.fl.us/