Urge CT Gov. Rell to Sign Death Penalty Abolition
Breaking silence for breaking news! Will death penalty abolition regain momentum? In 2007, New Jersey became the first state to legislatively repeal the death penalty since 1976 (NY’s state Supreme Court had struck its dp down as violating the state constitution). Early this year, New Mexico became the second and several other states had dp abolition bills in process. It looked as if the movement to abolish the death penalty was gaining real momentum. But the bill for abolition in Maryland was amended to keep the death penalty but require a higher level proof than in murder cases where the death penalty is not on the table. In Kansas, the Senate voted for further study and the session ended. In Montana, the bill was tabled and thus defeated for this session. In New Hampshire, after the governor promised to veto abolition, it was modified in a fashion similar to Maryland.
Then, last month, it seemed like the best possibility for another victory for abolitionism this year was defeated in Colorado. Colorado’s bill would have taken money save from abolishing the death penalty and used it to solve cold case murders. It passed the state House by 1 vote and failed in the state Senate also by one vote. At least for this year, death penalty abolition seemed to have run aground.
Now, unexpectedly, it may have new momentum. The state of Connecticut has a death penalty statute, but has never actually executed someone in 48 years. It has never been part of the “death belt” in this nation. But Gov. Jodi Rell (R-CT), a former prosecutor (who never graduated university and has only honorary degrees), has always supported the death penalty, claiming that some crimes are so heinous as to deserve death. In her term, CT had its first execution since 1960 in 2005. Given that opposition, it seemed unlikely that CT’s legislature would repeal the death penalty. Surprises do happen.
On 13 May, the CT state House passed a bill repealing the death penalty 90-56. And yesterday, the CT Senate passed abolition, 19-17. Neither legislative body has enough votes for abolition to override a veto by Gov. Rell and her public comments since yesterday do not sound like she wants to sign it into law.
CALL Gov. Rell at 1-800-406-1527 or, in CT, 860-566-4840. Or email her office at firstname.lastname@example.org and urge her to sign this repeal into law. (Be polite.) READERS FROM CONNECTICUT ARE ESPECIALLY URGED TO CONTACT HER AND URGE HER TO SIGN ABOLITION INTO LAW. Gov. Rell is an Episcopalian and the Episcopal Church has long been opposed to capital punishment.
P.S. I should say that Gov. Rell is from the dwindling moderate wing of the Republican party. She is pro-life, but supported civil unions for same-sex marriage. She instituted a statewide cap and trade system to reduce global warming and streamlined social security disability claims. She is a major proponent of campaign finance reform and has been known widely for her clean campaigns. She was considered for John McCain’s running mate last year, but his staff thought her too moderate for the GOP base. She, a Republican, has huge approval ratings in the very Demcratic state of CT. So, she is no fanatic, but a person of both faith and reason.
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