MT Senate Passes Bill Abolishing Death Penalty

Good news out of Montana: The state senate passed a bill abolishing the death penalty.

With a 27 to 23 vote, Montana State senators on Tuesday approved a bill that would abolish capital punishment. Montana is one of 36 states that currently has the death penalty and bill sponsor, Democrat Dave Wanzenried of Missoula, hopes that will change. His bill would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The reasoning: [More...]

“Life without the possibility of parole, on the other hand brings about an immediate sentence: life in prison without the possibility of parole, away from the public eye no publicity.”

Wanzenried says the death penalty is not a deterrent to murder and cited neighboring state North Dakota having a lower homicide rate with no death penalty.

The bill has passed its third reading in the Senate and now goes to the house. Montana currently has two inmates on death row.

[hat tip to McJoan of Daily Kos.]

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  • Display: Sort:
    Montana is developing a distinctly (none / 0) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 04:11:57 PM EST
    liberal flair.  Such a beautiful state too.

    It's all those Hollywood and NYC elites (none / 0) (#4)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 04:19:17 PM EST
    buying up all the ranchland.

    I jest, I have no idea.


    I don't either (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 04:25:31 PM EST
    It has been ten years since I lived close to the Montana border.  The West is going through its own political evolutions these days.

    It is? (none / 0) (#6)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 04:31:35 PM EST
    Seemed like the west coast states did pretty much what they regularly do this last election.

    That flair might be very temporary... (none / 0) (#9)
    by EL seattle on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 09:03:53 PM EST
    ...and superficial.  I'm not sure when the last time a horrific local sex crime got a lot of media coverage in Montana.  Things like that can quickly cause a change in public opinion on related topics.  But if they can get this thing passed at a time when folks are more worried about predators like bears and wolves than they are of the two-legged beasts, I think that it will be a healthy step.

    I don't think it's going to pass (none / 0) (#7)
    by MrConservative on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 05:53:13 PM EST
    The irony is, the senate is the chamber controlled by the Republicans.  While it may pass the house (which is doubtful) the Democratic governor will, in all likelihood, veto it, since he's a DP supporter.

    Man, with Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?

    I mean (none / 0) (#8)
    by MrConservative on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 05:53:47 PM EST
    I mean, come into law, not "pass", since it clearly just did pass the senate.

    Montana (none / 0) (#10)
    by CoralGables on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 11:20:30 PM EST
    is pretty much split equally in the Senate and House. 27R's 23D's in the Senate and I believe an equal 50R's & 50D's in the State House.

    With the Senate vote 21 Dems and 6 GOP for ending capital punishment, it looks to be another very close vote in the House. Brian Schweitzer is not the perfect candidate to sign this bill into law. As a second term Governor it helps, but at just 53 years old he is sure to have his eye on future political races. If he was 20 years older I'd expect this bill to get signed by a 2nd term Dem Governor quickly. In this case it might depend on what the political winds tell him should it reach his desk.