Washington state takes another major step in repeal of death penalty!

Olympia, Washington - The Washington state legislature has voted to repeal the death penalty, nearly five years after the state Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional.

The Washington state legislature has voted to remove all references to the death penalty from state law.
The Washington state legislature has voted to remove all references to the death penalty from state law.  © David Ryder / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The Washington state House voted 58-39 to approve SB 5087 after the state Senate advanced the measure in February.

The bill calls for the removal of all references to the death penalty in state law, making the repeal of capital punishment permanent.

Washington is not currently carrying out any executions. Democratic Governor Jay Inslee issued a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty in 2014.

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"Equal justice under the law is the state’s primary responsibility. And in death penalty cases, I'm not convinced equal justice is being served," Inslee said at the time.

In 2018, the Washington state Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional because "it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner."

Even though executions have been on pause for more than a decade, the removal of references to capital punishment from the state's legal code serves to strengthen protections against bringing them back in the future.

SB 5087 has been sent to Inslee's desk. Given his consistent track record of opposing capital punishment, the governor is expected to sign the bill into law.

Cover photo: David Ryder / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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