Most states will start the New Year with a new legislative session, which means supporters of death penalty repeal are preparing efforts to end the death penalty across the country. In the wake of repeal in Nebraska – an effort championed by conservatives – more Republicans are stepping up to lead many of these campaigns.
In Kansas, Republican Representative Steven Becker has already announced his plans to sponsor repeal legislation. In his corner stands the state’s Republican Liberty Caucus and the Kansas Federation of College Republicans, both of which passed resolutions in support of repeal. Last year, the Kansas Republican Party modified its party platform to remove support of the death penalty.
Republicans in both Kentucky and Missouri have also announced their plans to support death penalty repeal legislation in 2016. In northern Kentucky, conservatives recently launched a chapter of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty (CCATDP) and a new CCATDP chapter is in the process of forming in Missouri as well.
Death penalty repeal efforts in Ohio and South Dakota will also feature strong Republican supporters, and North Carolina may see a repeal bill introduced in its short session, where there is a Republican champion and an active CCATDP group.
While Montana doesn’t have a legislative session until 2017, Republican Representative Dave Hagstrom recently penned on op-ed in the Billings Gazette in support of repeal. Montana is currently under a de facto moratorium after a District Court Judge ruled that the state’s lethal injection protocol violated the law.
Photo of press conference of Kansas Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, courtesy of Kansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.