The Maryland General Assembly website states that the Senate has adjourned until Wednesday, March 6, at 9:00 am, following a brief Tuesday morning session.
"Maryland Senate resumes death penalty repeal debate," is Michael Dresser's Baltimore Sun post.
The Maryland Senate resumed its debate on Gov. Martin O'Malley's bill to abolish the death penalty Tuesday as opponents continued their efforts to block full repeal.
The efforts of capital punishment supporters to alter the bill appeared hopeless as amendment after amendment was defeated with votes to spare. Most of the amendments would have created exceptions to repeal that would retain the death penalty in murder cases viewed as especially heinous. They included cases in which the victims were law enforcement officers, correctional officers and abducted children.
The effort continued Tuesday morning with an amendment proposed by Sen. J. B. Jennings, a Republican who represents Harford and Baltimore counties, that would have created an exception for those who hire contract killers. It was rejected on a 25-19 vote. On Monday night the Senate rejected an amendment that would have retained capital punishment for the contract killers themselves.
Senate Minority Leader E. J. Pipkin, an Upper Shore Republican, proposed creating an exception for murders committed by those already under a sentence of death or life imprisonment, pointing to a Michigan case where a prosecutor declined to prosecute a lifer who strangled a fellow inmate, saying there was no way to add to his punishment. The amendment failed by the same margin.
The votes on the amendments indicate that supporters of repeal have a solid bloc of 27 votes -- three more than necessary for passage.
The Annapolis Capital Gazette reports, "Death penalty debate continues, vote possible Tuesday." It's by Alex Jackson.
The Senate shot down several new amendments proposed by opponents of the bill, including ones that would of allowed the death penalty in cases of kidnapping and murder of police officers.
O’Malley’s bill, Senate Bill 276, would make Maryland the 18th state to outlaw capital punishment.
About five votes will make the difference, said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Calvert. The Senate has been leaning “consistently in favor” of eliminating the death penalty, Miller said.
He believes bill will pass the Senate and the House, then be petitioned to the November 2014 ballot for a decision by the state's voters.
Miller opposes repealing the death penalty. He voted to reinstate it in 1978.
"Attempts to amend O’Malley’s death penalty bill fail in Maryland Senate," is the Washington Post report by John Wagner.
Supporters of a bill to repeal Maryland’s death penalty turned back eight amendments Monday night in the Senate intended to create exceptions under which convicted killers could still be executed.
None of the amendments offered Monday received more than 20 votes, shy of the 24 that would be needed to change the bill.
If the bill passes the Senate, it would head next to the House of Delegates, where supporters say they are confident they have lined up enough votes for passage.
O’Malley is trying to make Maryland the 18th state to repeal the death penalty.
Earlier coverage of the Maryland repeal legislation begins at the link.