Utah Senate panel OKs longshot death penalty repeal
By Associated Press
This November 2005 file photo shows the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Corrections Facility in Lucasville, Ohio. (Credit: Ap Photo / Kiichiro Sato, File)
(AP) - A longshot proposal for conservative Utah to join 19 states and the District of Columbia in abolishing the death penalty has cleared its first hurdle at the state Legislature.
A bipartisan group of senators on a judiciary committee voted 5-2 Tuesday evening to advance the measure to Utah's Senate for debate.
The Republican lawmaker sponsoring the bill acknowledges it will be an uphill battle to pass the measure, but he says it's important that lawmakers discuss whether the government should be in the business of killing people.
There's strong support for capital punishment with Utah's GOP-controlled Legislature and Republican governor, but Sen. Steve Urquhart of St. George hopes arguments about the cost of capital punishment and chance of wrongful convictions may sway his colleagues.
Lawmakers in at least eight other states have introduced similar measures over the last year.