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.
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.
Continue Reading →