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Abolition bills filed in Ky. Senate and House: SB 131 & HB 251

Lawmakers in each of the chambers of the Kentucky General Assembly filed bills to abolish the death penalty on February 7. State Senator Gerald Neal and State Representative Jason Nemes, both of Louisville, are hoping to see Kentucky become the next in a string of states that have ended executions.

Public News Service-Ky (KNS) reports the following from an interview with Senator Neal:

Neal says while lawmakers often cite morality or the “broken system” for their opposition, it’s because of the cost of the death penalty that many lawmakers have “second thoughts…”

“In fact, find it not acceptable to pay for that process when they understand that it costs more to execute a person than it is to incarcerate them for life,” Neal said.

KNS reporter Greg Stotelmyer writes that Nemes said he wants to stand for life.

Nemes, a conservative lawmaker from Louisville, says his bill is “about the soul of Kentucky” and for him, “a matter of faith.”

“If I believe that Jesus wouldn’t do it, I don’t think my government ought to do it either and I understand there are differences,” he said.

Anticipating the filing of this legislation, former State Representative Bob Heleringer described his opposition to the death penalty in his monthly Courier-Journal column headlined Capital punishment must die:

Opposition to the death penalty does not equate to sympathy for convicted murderers. I’ve never participated in a candlelight vigil or shed any tears for the criminals sitting on death row. The truly guilty are where they deserve to be, at least in theory, never to be free again. No, the vigils and the tears belong exclusively to the victims and their grief-stricken families. But does killing the killers really honor the memories of those victims? What kind of example does that teach our children – that our reaction to the most pernicious act carried out by one human being upon another (the act of taking a life) is to take that person’s life? The more heinous the murderers — think Timothy McVeigh or Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — the deeper our resolve should be that we must never descend to their level.

Supporters are reminded to call 1.800.372.7181 and leave a message asking their state lawmakers to co-sponsor and support both these bills. If you can come to Frankfort to visit your legislators on one or more of the remaining ABOLITION WEDNESDAYS please click here to sign up and select a date.

To read HB 251, click on the bill number. Co-sponsors include Reps. Addia Wuchner, Melinda Prunty and Diane St. Onge.

To read SB 131, click on the bill number. Co-sponsors include Senators Julie Raque Adams (primary co-sponsor), Perry Clark, Denise Harper-Angel and Reginald Thomas.

KCADP is grateful to all these legislators for their willingness to sponsors bills to abolish the death penalty and help create a more just and humane justice system in our Commonwealth.

Photos: Pat Delahanty (Sen. Neal) and the LRC public information office (Rep. Nemes)

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