Washington State Senate Votes to Abolish the Death Penalty

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The Washington State Senate voted on Wednesday to abolish the death penalty, The News Tribune reported, in a 26-22 vote that included five Republican members of the chamber. If the measure passes the House and is signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee, it would replace the death penalty with a life prison sentence that excludes the possibility of parole.

It’s a turning point in the movement to abolish the death penalty in the state, which has seen multiple unsuccessful efforts to pass a version of this bill over the last five years. Washington has had a moratorium on the death penalty since 2014, but it has not been prohibited outright.


From The News Tribune:

“All people deserve to live,” said state Sen. Mark Miloscia, a Republican from Federal Way, during an emotional floor debate on the measure Wednesday. Milosica said he supports the bill in part because of his Catholic faith. [...]

Two amendments to restrict but not eliminate the death penalty proposed by Republican lawmakers were struck down prior to the final vote. One would have kept the penalty as a possibility for those found guilty of murder of a law enforcement officer while the other would have kept it for the murder of a correctional officer.


“We’ve made some mistakes and put innocent people to death,” Republican Senator Maureen Walsh said. “And we frankly, again, are in a very disproportionate world where certain applications of justice are applied to some but not the others.”

Another Republican senator, Mark Miloscia, said his Catholic faith prompted him, in part, to vote for the bill. “All people deserve to live,” he told the Senate.


Five Democrats voted against the bill.