Ohio legislators introduce a law abolishing the death penalty

The death penalty could be abolished in Ohio under bipartisan legislation announced Tuesday — the latest in years of efforts to end the state’s death penalty.

State senators from both sides of the aisle called for an end to the practice, citing the financial hit on taxpayers to keep an inmate on death row, the shortage of lethal injectable drugs that has led to an unofficial moratorium on executions in the state and the risk of execution of an innocent person and questions about a state’s right to end a life.

“This is not a Republican or Democratic issue,” said Senator Nickie Antonio, a Lakewood Democrat who supports the bill. “Regardless of any reason a person supports this legislation, it is vital to our own collective humanity.”

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The proposal is anything but new. Antonio and GOP Sen. Steve Huffman from Tipp City introduced the measure in the last meeting. It failed to gain momentum, as it has in several legislative sessions, despite support from some of the majority Republicans.

But growing public opposition to the death penalty gives Antonio hope this time, she said at Tuesday’s news conference, as does a new General Assembly that includes a dozen senators who support abolition.

A bipartisan group of Ohio lawmakers has introduced a bill to abolish the state’s death penalty. (AP Photo/Samantha Hendrickson)

First-term Republican Senator Michelle Reynolds said she supports the measure because she is “pro-life” and believes human lives should not be used as a bargaining chip.

“Life is our most precious gift, and our bylaws should uphold and exalt that,” Reynolds said.

It’s not clear where legislative leadership might take the bill. GOP Senate President Matt Huffman – Steve Huffman’s cousin – supports the death penalty, although he previously said he was open to debate and discussion on the issue. Republican House Speaker Jason Stephens also said he was open to further debate in the Legislature.

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Currently, Ohio has an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty after GOP Gov. Mike DeWine directed lawmakers to find an alternative method to lethal injection, citing the state’s inability to obtain the drugs it needs. Since then he has delayed several executions.

The state’s most recent execution was on July 18, 2018, when Ohio executed Robert Van Hook for killing David Self in Cincinnati in 1985. There are currently 134 people on death row in Ohio, according to the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center.

The Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association opposes the law, calling it “dangerous” and saying it would give Ohio’s “worst criminals” a chance.


Republican Attorney General Dave Yost, a pro-death penalty advocate, said in a statement that the law provides a platform to discuss a necessary overhaul of Ohio’s death penalty system, calling it “a farce and a broken promise of justice.”

Source : www.foxnews.com

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