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.
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