Death Penalty Legislative Update – April 2013

April 11, 2013

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– April 15, 2013 –

March was an extraordinary month of activity in the movement to end the use of the death penalty!

In Delaware, the Senate passed, by an 11-10 margin, SB 19, which ends the death penalty for future capital offenses. The bill next moves to the House Judiciary Committee on April 24. Bishop William Malooly of the Diocese of Wilmington signed the Delaware Repeal Project’s Faith Leaders Sign on Letter, which helped encourage signatures from numerous Catholic priests of the diocese. For more information on Delaware’s efforts visit Delaware Repeal Project’s website.

Nebraska’s bill to end the death penalty, LB543, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and heads to the full legislature for debate. More information on this effort can be found on the Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty website.

In a hard-won victory, Maryland’s legislature also chose life over death, setting the stage for Governor O’Malley to sign a bill ending the death penalty in that state making Maryland the 18th state to do so overall, and the sixth in six years. More information on this effort can be found at the Maryland Citizens Against State Executions (MD CASE) website.

In Colorado the movement to end the death penalty continues to grow, although the Judiciary Committee of the Colorado House of Representatives did narrowly reject, by a vote of 6-4, a bill which would have replaced the death penalty with life imprisonment.

Meanwhile, despite ample and convincing evidence that race often is a factor when juries hand down death sentences, the North Carolina Senate voted last week to repeal its landmark Racial Justice Act. North Carolina was a leader when it passed; now it is swimming against a stream of states that question how fairly the death penalty is applied. The bill, SB 9, goes to the House this month for debate. Please visit North Carolina Coalition for a Moratorium’s website for more information.

CMN continues to work in key states to educate Catholics, lifting up our voices in this pro-life movement. Be sure to review our death penalty legislative talking points (in English and Spanish) for key states and contact us if you’d like us to add your state to the list.

 

This article was first featured in the April 2013 CMN Newsletter.