OLYMPIA-The State Senate has signed off on abolishing the death penalty in Washington State.
The chamber voted 26-22 last Wednesday to repeal the law under SB 6052 and instead change capital punishment for life in prison without parole. There was vigorous debate prior to the vote with the bill’s prime sponsor, GOP senator, Maureen Walsh speaking in favor:
“There have been some comments that have been made about the fact that it was an initiative of the people,” Walsh said. “I think that initiative was passed years before we had additional information that would maybe make us rethink this policy in our state.”
Walsh said she has no religious motivation for the bill, but to simply address a ‘flawed policy.’
“We spend a lot of money, our tax money, appealing these decisions and we have done this for many, many years,” Walsh said. “We save about one million to 1.5-million dollars is the rough estimate, I don’t like to put a dollar amount on anything we’re talking about people’s lives. The reality is, I’ve spoken with enough of the families of the victims to realize and understand, that the majority of them do not get great vindication from the death of the perpetrator who killed their loved one.”
Fellow Republican Mark Schoesler rose in opposition to the bill.
“I have no trust in the judiciary that life without parole really means life without parole,” Schoesler said. “In our court system today, does anyone have absolute confidence in anything? I don’t. For something as sensitive to our population as this, I don’t have it, maybe a vote of the people would have it, but I’ll be voting no.”
The bill passed with four democrats voting against it and five Republicans in favor including 12th District Senator, Brad Hawkins. The bill is now scheduled for executive session in the House Committee for Feb. 22 in anticipation of other legislative action.