Colorado Death Penalty Repeal

We are halfway through the 2020 Legislative Session! Last Monday, SB20-100 was debated in the House until 4AM. The bill ended up passing through third reading in the House, and it is now awaiting Governor Polis’ signature.

SB20-100 is a bill that would repeal the death penalty in Colorado. Issues such as the death penalty are challenging and contentious, and other proposed repeals have been run in recent history; however, this is the first time that there has been bipartisan sponsorship of the bill.

The death penalty was reinstated in Colorado in 1974 by popular vote, with 61% in favor of the measure that was referred to Colorado voters by the State legislature. Only one person has been executed since capital punishment was reinstated in the State, and there are 3 men currently on death row in Colorado. The Governor is able to commute sentences of those on death row (generally when a Governor commutes a sentence like this, it is switched over to life in prison), however current Governor Jared Polis’ office said that there are currently no requests pending to change the sentences of the 3 men on death row.

Colorado faces many difficult issues like this one. As we have watched our State and country evolve, it has been the legislature’s job to help modify and adapt our laws. Many of these new proposals entail a lot of work, and tough decisions to make. Many lawmakers in the General Assembly said this was among the toughest issue they had ever voted on.

If SB20-100 becomes law, Colorado would become the 22nd state to abolish capital punishment, and the tenth since 2004.

During the long SB20-100 debate, when Monday turned into Tuesday, we still had to stick to protocol – that means reciting the morning prayer and Pledge of Allegiance! Tracy & Representative Daneya Esgar had the pleasure of reciting the pledge at 12AM (featuring Speaker of the House KC Becker on the right!).

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