"Death penalty ban gets a hearing: Oregon Legislature Today," is the report by Harry Esteve in today's Oregonian.
Oregon's death penalty takes center stage Tuesday at the Legislature, which will hold a public hearing on whether to eliminate it.
House Joint Resolution 1, sponsored by Rep. Mitch Greenlick, would put the question to voters on the November 2014 ballot. The issue arose when Gov. John Kitzhaber declared a moratorium on executions to prevent convicted killer Gary Haugen from being put to death in Oregon.
Greenlick's bill asks voters to substitute the sentence, "A sentence of death may not be imposed or executed," for language in the state constitution that allows for capital punishment.
Greenlick plans to hold a news conference about the proposal at noon. The hearing, which will be livestreamed, is at 1 p.m. in House Judiciary.
Oregon's complicated relationship with capital punishment takes center stage this week as a House committee takes up Gov. John Kitzhaber's plea for a public vote on repealing the death penalty.
On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee will hear public testimony on a measure that would ask voters in 2014 whether to insert 10 words in the state constitution: "A sentence of death shall not be imposed or executed."
The proposal doesn't seem likely to go very far, especially after voters in California rejected a similar measure last year.
House Speaker Tina Kotek said she wants to see more evidence the measure could pass in Oregon, although she stopped short of ruling out a 2014 vote.
"I think it was unfortunate that California wasn't successful, and I think that impacted our ability to be successful in the near term," Kotek said.
Rep. Mitch Greenlick, the Portland Democrat sponsoring the measure, said he believes it would pass, and he'd like to see the measure go forward. Kitzhaber told reporters last month that he'd like to see a vote in 2014 even if polling showed the measure was unlikely to pass.
One Republican, Rep. Bob Jenson of Pendleton, has signed on. He said death penalty cases are expensive to try and to appeal, and forensic evidence has proven the innocence of some death row inmates around the country.
"Once you throw the switch, it's impossible to reverse those mistakes," said Jenson said.
Earlier coverage from Oregon begins at the link. The state currently has a moratorium on executions by order of the governor.