From Kentucky, AP reports, "Rollins to push for bill to abolish death penalty." It's by Roger Alford, via WFIE-TV.
A central Kentucky Democrat will be pushing legislation in the upcoming legislative session that would abolish the death penalty in Kentucky.
Democratic state Rep. Carl Rollins of Midway drafted a measure that would make Kentucky's stiffest sentence life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Rollins bill calls for the term "capital punishment" to be stricken altogether from state law.
Similar legislation has been introduced intermittently in Kentucky over the past 25 years, but has never garnered enough support to pass.
The Rev. Patrick Delahanty, chairman of the Kentucky Coalition To Abolish The Death Penalty, said Monday he's heartened that Rollins already has the bill posted and ready to be filed when lawmakers convene on Jan. 8.
Today's Balitore Sun publishes the OpEd, "Unrepresentative committee blocks Md. death penalty repeal vote," by Gerald Stansbury of the NAACP Maryland State Conference.
Anyone who has followed the effort to repeal the death penalty in Maryland knows that the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is the last obstacle needed to bring it to a long-overdue floor vote. The Maryland State Conference of the NAACP believes that repeal of the death penalty is too important to be stymied by the committee's makeup. Death penalty abolition would save Maryland millions of dollars and prevent future murders. The question deserves an up or down vote on the floor of the Maryland Senate — even if it means restructuring the committee.
We respect the committee structure as a tool to help legislators specialize in certain areas and focus on the specifics of niche issues. But we also remember the long history of civil rights bills bottled up in committee to prevent a vote. And right now, the Judicial Proceedings Committee has jurisdiction over all criminal justice issues but fails to adequately represent those who are affected by these issues the most — people of color.
The democratic nature of the General Assembly is distorted when committees are not truly representative of the people they are supposed to represent, and the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee is an unfortunate example.
Despite Maryland's 31 percent African-American population, the committee has only one African-American member out of 11, Sen. Lisa Gladden of Baltimore. This is inexcusable for a group that oversees the death penalty, not to mention the crack/cocaine sentencing disparity, zero-tolerance policing and the use of SWAT teams. African-American senators who represent predominantly African-American districts would offer unique perspectives on these policies, which have historically affected our community disproportionately.