Proposed bill would eliminate death penalty, imprison current death row inmates for life

Proposed bill would eliminate death penalty, imprison current death row inmates for life
68 Louisianans currently on death row would instead be sentenced to life in prison if lawmakers approve a new plan to eliminate the death penalty. (Source: AP Images)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Each of the 68 Louisianans currently on death row would instead be sentenced to life in prison if lawmakers approve a new plan to eliminate the death penalty during the legislative session beginning in March.

Newly-elected Marrero democrat Rep. Kyle Green’s House Bill 38 is retroactive, different from previous attempts to end capital punishment. Debate on the bill is often centered on religion.

Inmates removed from death row would not have the opportunity for parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

Louisiana has not executed a death row inmate since 2011. Since then, corrections officials say the state has stopped executing criminals because they’re having a hard time getting drugs from pharmaceutical companies that do not want their brands associated with lethal injections.

A bill to keep secret lethal chemical providers failed last session. Lawmakers had hoped that would make the drugs easier to acquire so the state could resume executions.

Other lawmakers tried to make their plan to end capital punishment more palatable by putting the proposal on ballots through a proposed constitutional amendment. Though one version advanced further than ever before, both ultimately failed in the legislature.

An entirely new legislature sits for the first time on March 9, and it is unclear if the new lawmakers will be more friendly to the idea.

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