Illinois Death Penalty Abolition Bill Passes House!

Today, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to abolish the death penalty.  The bill (SB 3539) now goes to the Illinois Senate, which will debate and vote on it very soon.  (Those of you in Illinois can call the capitol switchboard at (217) 782-2000, ask for your Senator and say, “I’m a constituent and I urge you to support SB 3539.”  You can find out who your state Senator is here.) 

Governor Pat Quinn has been somewhat non-committal about whether he would sign it into law, but he has been a vocal supporter of the moratorium on executions which has been in place for over ten years.

Illinois is the fifth largest state in the country, in terms of population, and was once a regular user of capital punishment.  The moratorium was imposed back in the year 2000 when it became obvious that the state’s death penalty was massively flawed – more death row prisoners were being found innocent than were being executed.  No solution to these problems has been found during the intervening decade, while capital punishment has continued to drain the state’s treasury.

Abolishing policies that do more harm than good and cost a lot of money is just common sense.  Today’s vote reflects that fact that elected officials in Illinois, as elsewhere, are taking a more rational approach to the death penalty, and realizing that getting rid of it is the most sensible option.

Death Penalty Abolition Passes Illinois House Committee

After ten years of futility, trying gamely to make its irreparably broken capital punishment system work, Illinois is on the verge of saying “enough is enough.”  Today, a committee in the Illinois House passed a bill to abolish the state’s moribund death penalty, and the full House and Senate will vote on the measure before the end of this week.   Way back in January of 2000, a moratorium on executions was imposed when it was noticed that more people were getting off of death row because of their innocence than because of their execution.  This didn’t stop the state from continuing to try to have a death penalty, and continuing to spend millions of dollars on it.

Now, with efforts to fix their flawed capital punishment system proven to be a failure, state lawmakers in the House can decide to stop throwing good money after bad and vote to abolish the death penalty once and for all.  The Senate should do the same.  If you live in Illinois, or know someone who does, now is the time for all state legislators to hear from their constituents – by phone, by fax, by email … All Illinois constituents can use their address to find their state legislators’ contact information here.

Spread the word and make the call TODAY!