Maryland: Repeal vs. Storm


Weather permitting, the Maryland Senate is expected to vote for repeal of the state’s death penalty later today.  Supporters believe they have the votes, and are expected to cast them despite a forecast of heavy snow for Annapolis, the state capital. There is a possibility the weather could force a delay.

The vote in the Senate, where opposition has been strong in the past, would represent a significant victory for Gov. Martin O’Malley.  O’Malley led legislative initiatives to repeal the death penalty twice before, in 2007 and 2009, and was unable to get the necessary Senate votes.

Assuming Senate passage, the repeal measure will move to the House of Delegates, where approval is expected.


The storm passed, and so did repeal. The Senate vote was 27 – 20; the bill now moves to the House of Delegates, where support is stronger. If it passes and is signed into law, however, it could face a challenge in the form of a referendum. Opponents would have to gather about 60-thousand signatures to force the issue onto next November’s ballot.


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