Tue March 26, 2013

Colorado Death Penalty Repeal Struck Down In Committee

Following a long debate in committee last week and a delay on the final vote, a bill to repeal Colorado's death penalty was killed Tuesday.

Bente Birkeland reports from the state capitol

Two Democrats joined Republicans to vote the repeal down in the House Judiciary. Sponsors of House Bill 1264 [.pdf] say they had the votes and blame the Governor for threatening a veto.

The Denver Post quoted the bill's sponsor, Rep. Claire Levy (D-Boulder) as saying:

"I think had the governor not signaled so strongly he wouldn't sign the bill, I think we would have had those votes ... We would have repealed the death penalty in Colorado and I think we could all stand up proud and strong and know that we did the right thing," Levy said.

The last time Democrats tried to eliminate the death penalty four years ago they came up one vote short. Representative Ed Vigil (D-Alamosa) was the key swing vote at that time in the house and kept the bill alive , no such vote will occur this time.

Governor Hickenlooper hadn't commented on whether he would sign the bill before last week's hearing on the measure. He's previously said though it was an issue that he struggled with. That changed the Wednesday after the bill was given its first committee hearing and the Governor first indicated that he could possibly veto the bill.