"Lawmakers consider bill to abolish death penalty," the AP report by Rachel La Corte, via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Lawmakers are considering a measure to abolish the death penalty, an effort that has failed in Washington state in recent years but which supporters hope will gain traction after other states have recently either issued moratoriums or outlawed it completely.
"We can keep the public safe with putting people in prison for the rest of their life, as opposed to the costly expense of executing them," she said.
Regala also argued that the death penalty doesn't deter someone from committing a murder. She cites her own personal experience with the 1980 murder of her brother-in-law. His killer was never caught. Even if the killer was charged, Regala said she wouldn't have wanted the assailant to face death.
"It doesn't do anything to heal your grief," she said. "It doesn't bring the victim back."
Fiscal documents from a similar bill last year showed that, not counting incarceration costs, a death penalty case runs about $1.2 million in state and local costs, compared with $89,000 for a life-without-parole case.
Lawmakers are in the midst of a 60-day legislative session where they are tasked with patching a projected $1 billion dollar shortfall.
"It's always important and valuable for us to look at public policy and see if it's actually getting us the results that we want," Regala said. "When you're facing an economic crisis, you add an extra lens."
Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire has not taken a position on the measure, said her spokeswoman, Karina Shagren.
The Seattle Times reports, "Some state lawmakers want to abolish the death penalty, although their proposal faces strong opposition." It's written by Jordan Schrader.
Add another controversial social issue to the Legislature's growing agenda: Abolishing the death penalty.
Supporters of that cause will convene in Olympia Wednesday to rally behind state Sen. Debbie Regala, D-Tacoma, and other lawmakers trying to end capital punishment in Washington.
Regala knows what it's like to want justice for a violent crime. The Tacoma Democrat said her brother-in-law was killed in 1980 and his body dumped in a Seattle park. The killer was never found, she said.
"It's still painful and hard for me to talk about because the hurt never goes away," Regala said, "but executing that person doesn't solve that problem for me."
Her proposal's prospects seem dim this year, especially in a key House committee. Rep. Steve Kirby, D-Tacoma, says he will withhold his vote, effectively blocking it unless his fellow Democrats can persuade a Republican to join them.
"De facto right now, we don't have a death penalty in the state of Washington," said Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood.
Carrell said capital punishment is little more than a "bargaining chip" for prosecutors to use to force plea deals. But he thinks it's crucial for prosecutors to have that threat, which was used, for example, to force Green River killer Gary Ridgway to reveal the locations of some of his victims' bodies. Ridgway is serving a life sentence.