"Senator files bill to ban capital punishment in Alabama," is Tim Lockette's report in the Anniston Star.
An Alabama state senator has filed a raft of bills — five in all — challenging the state’s use of the death penalty.
For Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, proposals to reform or halt capital punishment have become a yearly ritual, as regular as the decoration of the Capitol Christmas tree. But this year, Sanders hopes to see an actual debate on the question of whether the state should execute people.
“I’ll be asking for a public hearing, early in the session,” Sanders said.
In December, Sanders filed a bill that would ban capital punishment. He also filed a separate bill that would place a moratorium on executions, pending a review by the state.
Three other bills would attempt to bring Alabama in line with most other states on rules regarding mentally handicapped defendants, juvenile offenders and judges’ sentencing powers in capital cases.
None of the bills raised eyebrows in Montgomery. Sanders has proposed each of the measures at least once before; his bills have rarely made it out of committee. But Sanders said the issue is important enough to raise again.
Alabama had 195 inmates on death row as of Wednesday, according to the state Department of Corrections. That’s the fifth-largest death row in the nation, according to the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center. As of last April, California had 724 people awaiting execution, Florida 407, Texas 308 and Pennsylvania 204.