State capitals are buzzing as lawmakers return for this year’s state legislative sessions. It’s no surprise that the death penalty is on the agenda in so many places, given the growing movement away from executions.
There has long been strong support for death penalty repeal in Kansas, but due to many circumstances, repeal bills haven’t received committee hearings in recent years. This year, a diverse range of Kansans – murder victims’ family members, faith leaders, those with law enforcement experience, and legal experts – were able to express their support for repeal in front of a House committee. The hearing room was standing room only with supporters of the bill, and those testifying in favor of repeal outnumbered opponents 9 to 1.
The Kansas legislature is now in session, and a bill to repeal the death penalty will soon be introduced. Many lawmakers in Kansas are rethinking the death penalty, frustrated by its errors, delays, and high costs. As they consider death penalty legislation, it is critical that you let them know how important repeal is to you.
Our friends at the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty (KCADP) have an amazing event planned for Saturday, October 22, and we wanted to make sure you heard about it!
Join KCADP for their annual Abolition Conference at 1pm on 10/22 at St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church in Olathe. You’ll hear Kansans speak about the social, economic, political, and psychological costs of the death penalty in “The Kansas Death Penalty: What a Waste!”
The four panelists each have personal experience with and a unique perspective to share on the death penalty:
Please pre-register either via email to email@example.com or by calling (785) 235-2237. The event is free and open to the public, so we hope you’ll go and bring a friend!
Lawmakers in Delaware allowed a bill to repeal the death penalty to get a full debate on the House floor for the first time. The bill had been stuck in the House Judiciary Committee for the last several years.
The growing coalition in Delaware is fired up at having broken through the logjam. Though the bill did not pass, the fight is not over. In fact, there is still a chance the bill will have another day on the House floor in 2016.
Lawmakers across the country are reconsidering the death penalty, and things are really heating up in Delaware. Legislation to repeal the death penalty has already passed the Senate, and tomorrow, debate moves to the full House floor. If passed, it will go to the Governor, who has promised he will sign the bill.
We need YOU to dig through your address books, your social media accounts, and your “mental rolodex” to think of anyone you might know in Delaware. Connect them to our easy action alert, where they can contact their representative TODAY.
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.
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In preparation for the new term of the U.S. Supreme Court, starting on October 5, we will feature an occasional guest column by our newest board member, Ursula Bentele. Ursula is a renowned Supreme Court scholar, who will look at some of the Court’s cases with a particular eye towards those with implications for the death penalty. Once the Court has heard oral arguments and delivers its opinions, she will reflect on those outcomes and comment on how the Court’s resolution of the issues might affect the future of the death penalty in this country.
The first capital cases in front of the Court this term, scheduled for argument on October 7, involve three people whose death sentences were overturned by the Supreme Court of Kansas. Kansas’s highest court ruled that the instructions given to the jury during the sentencing phase of the trial were not adequate, and therefore their sentences are invalid.1 The fundamental issue in the case is obligation of jurors to consider mitigating circumstances in capital trials.
Citing pro-life views and fiscal responsibility, the Kansas Federation of College Republicans unanimously adopted a resolution calling for repeal of the death penalty. The group urged Kansas legislators to pass repeal and joined ranks with the Republican Liberty Caucus of Kansas, who announced support for repeal last year. The Kansas Republican Party has also dropped death penalty support from its platform.
Check out this article in the Huffington Post that puts the College Republicans’ new stance into a boarder context of bipartisan support for death penalty repeal.