The House Judiciary Committee's 14-8 vote to approve the bill came after Republicans offered more than a half-dozen amendments seeking to allow the death penalty for some crimes, including mass murder. One after another, they were voted down by the same margin as on the bill itself.
The vote in the House committee fell almost entirely along party lines, with Democratic Del. Kevin Kelly of Allegany County joining seven Republicans in voting no.
"Maryland House committee approves death penalty repeal bill," is the AP report via the Frederick News Post.
Gov. O’Malley’s bill to repeal the death penalty is making headway, gaining approval from a Maryland House Committee.
The House Judiciary Committee approved the measure in a 14-8 vote on Friday.
The bill now moves to the full House floor, where it also expected to pass.
The Washington Post reports, "Death penalty repeal bill heads to House floor in Maryland," by John Wagner.
The action came just two days after the Senate passed the legislation, which would make Maryland the sixth state in as many years to abolish capital punishment.
Supporters are confident they have the votes to pass the bill on the House floor and send it to O’Malley (D) for his signature. The legislation would replace death sentences with life without the possibility of parole.
“Life without parole is certainly not a walk in the park,” Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Montgomery) told his colleagues during the committee voting session. Simmons, like many repeal supporters, said he feared the possibility that Maryland could one day execute an innocent person.
Before the vote, supporters of O’Malley’s bill turned back 10 amendments that sought to carve out exceptions to a repeal. Those included people who hire contract killers, people who kill children they have abducted, and people who kill police officers.
The Daily Record publishes the editorial, "Repeal protects wrongly convicted."
Maryland legislators took an important step forward this week in ensuring that no innocent people will be put to death at the hands of the state. With Wednesday’s approval of a death penalty repeal by the Senate, Maryland is poised to become the 18th state to ban the practice. The District of Columbia also does not allow executions.
Earlier coverage of the Maryland repeal legislation begins at the link.