Md. Senate Votes to Allow Debate on Death Penalty
The Maryland Senate has approved a pair of procedural votes to allow floor debate of Gov. Martin O'Malley's death penalty repeal bill to begin this afternoon.
In a preliminary victory for O'Malley (D), the Senate voted 25-22 to debate the bill, despite an unfavorable recommendation last week by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. The same motion was used 30 years ago to bring a bill to the floor that reinstated the death penalty.
A second motion passed 24-23 that will allow debate on amendments to begin later today. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), who opposed both motions, said it would start at 3:30 p.m.
The preliminary debate opened this morning with an appeal for fairness.
"Back 30 years ago, we had a free and open debate about this issue," said Sen. Lisa A. Gladden (D-Baltimore), who is sponsoring the repeal bill with O'Malley. "It is not about process or procedure. It is about principle."
Republicans bristled at the process.
"This is wrong," said Sen. David Brinkley (R-Frederick). "You're saying we're going to play baseball by one set of rules until we don't get the outcome we want."
Here is a story on O'Malley's lobbying efforts.
March 3, 2009; 11:02 AM ET
Categories: General Assembly , John Wagner
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