Bill to end Louisiana’s death penalty edges toward state House

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The latest push to end Louisiana’s death penalty remains alive — and poised for heated debate on the state House floor.

The chamber will consider Rep. Terry Landry’s bill to abolish capital punishment in the state. A House criminal justice committee gave it a narrow blessing Tuesday, in an 8-7 vote.

“I pray everyday, in this initiative that I’m putting forth, that I’m doing the right thing,” he told lawmakers.

Landry’s measure would abolish the penalty for crimes committed starting in August.

The legislation faces a tough crowd in the conservative-led House. Similar bills have failed to win over lawmakers in recent years. Just last week, state Senators rejected a bid to let voters decide whether to end capital punishment.

Landry admitted that he did not expect House members to advance his bill Tuesday, but he added hope that lawmakers will at least put the death penalty to a debate.

“No one said this process was going to be easy,” he said. “I don’t expect it to be easy. And I expect the debate to be as intense on the floor.”

Roughly 70 inmates currently sit on Louisiana’s death row. The state has not performed an execution since 2010, in part because corrections officials have struggled to obtain drugs for lethal injections.

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