Colorado death penalty repeal effort is yanked, with Democratic votes in question
The Colorado Sun
Colorado lawmakers on Tuesday nixed their effort to repeal the state’s death penalty after it appeared Democrats lacked the votes needed to push the measure through, emphasizing a split in the party that has been widening for weeks.
Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Denver Democrat, tearfully asked that Senate Bill 182 be laid over until May 4, the day after the 2019 legislative session ends, effectively yanking the measure. She was a prime sponsor of the legislation.
“I could ask you to cast your vote publicly, to reject this irrevocably cruel, unusual and ghastly practice,” Gonzales said. “… I want you all to know that I’m going to give Senate Bill 182 a dignified death, not a torturous one.”
Democrats hold a slim 19-16 majority in the Colorado Senate, where the bill had been on hold for a month while proponents tried to secure enough votes for passage. At least one Democrat — Sen. Rhonda Fields, of Aurora — had vowed to vote “no” on the bill. Another four were either on the fence about their support for the measure or haven’t publicly said where they stand.
Fields’ son, Javad, and his fiancée, Vivian Wolfe, were killed by two of the three men on death row. The veteran lawmaker was frustrated with how Senate Bill 182 was unveiled, complaining on the Senate floor that not enough time was given to consider the measure.
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