House panel votes to kill death penalty repeal bill

Two Democrats joined Republicans in opposing a measure to repeal the state’s death penalty today.

Reps. Lois Court, D-Denver, and Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, joined the four Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee in voting against HB1264, which would have repealed the state’s long-standing death penalty sentence in capital murder crimes.

Court said she opposed the penalty, but voted against the bill after Gov. John Hickenlooper publicly said he didn’t think Colorado voters wanted the penalty repealed.

Pettersen said she hadn’t made up her mind until recently whether she opposed or supported the idea, saying she ultimately came down against repeal because she doesn’t believe her constituents want it gone.

Tomorrow, the House Local Government Committee will hear a bill to send the issue to the ballot, but that bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, has said she supports the penalty and only introduced her bill as an alternative to an outright repeal. As a result of today’s vote, she’s expected to ask for her own measure to be killed.



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