House committee approves death penalty repeal bill

February 27, 2020 GMT

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A measure to repeal the state’s death penalty law was approved by a House committee Thursday, but whether it will receive vote by the full House is still uncertain.

The Senate bill passed by the House Public Safety Committee would make permanent a 2018 state Supreme Court ruling that struck down capital punishment as arbitrary and racially biased. The Senate passed the bill on a 28-18 vote last month. The bill had cleared the Senate in previous years before stalling in the House.

The measure would remove capital punishment as a sentencing option for aggravated murder and mandating instead a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole. Gov. Jay Inslee has said he will sign it if it makes it to his desk.

The 60-day legislative session ends March 12.