State lawmakers in both the House and Senate are mulling bills that would put an end to the death penalty in Washington.
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The two bills were sponsored by more than 20 legislators, including 32nd District Reps. Ruth Kagi (D-Shoreline) and Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline), and 46th District Democrat Gerry Pollet of Seattle. If the bills pass, the state would end court-ordered executions and make life imprisonment the maximum penalty for serious crimes.
“We believe the death penalty is immoral, unfairly implemented and appeals to society’s most violent instincts rather than love and compassion,” three other sponsors—Reps. Reven Carlyle (D-Seattle), Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines) and Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Walla)—said in a statement provided to Q13.
Washington is one of 33 states that use the death penalty. The state has executed five people since 1976; seven inmates are on Washington's death row.
A 2011 study from the Pew Research Center found 62 percent of Americans supported capital punishment for people convicted of murder. The number represents a significant decline in favor since the 1990s but is consistent with survey results from recent years.