Death penalty ban clears state Senate committee

Washington state teacher settles discrimination suit

A Senate committee has approved a measure to abolish the death penalty in Washington state.

Senate Bill 6052 passed the Senate Law and Justice Committee Thursday on a party line 4-3 vote and now heads to the Rules Committee. Bipartisan efforts to ban the death penalty have failed to gain traction in recent years, in spite of a moratorium put in place by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2014. As long as the moratorium is in place, death row inmates will remain in prison rather than face execution.

The Senate measure would remove capital punishment as a sentencing option for aggravated murder and mandate instead a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

A 2015 study from Seattle University found that death penalty cases in the state cost $1 million more than similar cases where capital punishment is not sought.