the Denver Post
After several last-minute hallway discussions and wrangling of votes, a House committee on Tuesday struck down a measure to repeal Colorado's death penalty.
The Democratic-controlled committee killed House Bill 1264 on a 6-4 vote. Democratic Reps. Lois Court, Denver, and Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, joined Republicans in opposition to the measure.
Tuesday's vote comes after a week's delay as action on House Bill 1264 was postponed after Gov. John Hickenlooper talked to fellow Democrats about a potential veto.
"I've been in the middle this whole time through testimony," Pettersen said. "I know the governor has concerns and I think they're valid."
And the bill's sponsor, Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, cited Hickenlooper's warning as a key reason for the measure's defeat.
"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 We would have repealed the death penalty in Colorado and I think we could all stand up proud and strong and know that we did the right thing," Levy said
Last week committee chairman Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village, indicated to The Denver Post that Democrats had the votes to pass the measure.
The bill, co-sponsored by Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, would have repealed the option of capital punishment for any crimes committed after July 1, 2013. This would leave life in prison without possibility of parole the most severe punishment prosecutors could seek.
Hickenlooper told House Democrats at their caucus luncheon last week that he's uncertain about the repeal and might veto the bill if it arrived on his desk. He said he's not sure the public supports it.
The measure received nine hours of testimony last week from proponents and opponents of the measure.
Meanwhile, Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, has filed a bill that would have voters in 2014 decide whether the death penalty should be repealed.
Her measure was also laid over last week and is set to be heard in a House committee Wednesday.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
the Denver Post