TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – An effort to abolish the death penalty failed to pass a House committee vote Thursday.

In a 9-4 vote, the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted against a bill (HB 4005) that would have abolished the death penalty in Florida, the News Service of Florida reported.

But the rare vote to kill a bill in committee, rather than just bottling it up never to be heard, gave death penalty opponents their first chance to extensively argue for a repeal, following several years in which the measure’s sponsor, Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, has been unable to persuade Republican leaders to put the bill before a committee.

Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, introduced the bill again last week and offered extensive praise for committee chairman Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, for being willing to allow the debate on the often divisive and emotional issue.

Gaetz also had the committee take testimony from a number of death penalty opponents, including a rabbi, a university criminology professor and a woman whose daughter and grandson were murdered but who has advocated against the death penalty.

Read more in the full article.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)


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