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Lawmakers debate banning Louisiana's death penalty

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BATON ROUGE - Louisiana senators are moving forward with a bill that would make it the first state in the South to stop sentencing people to death.

A Senate judicial committee Tuesday voted 6-1 to have the full Senate consider the proposal, which would eliminate the death penalty as punishment for any offenses committed on or after Aug. 1.

Proponents of the ban argued cash-strapped Louisiana should not be spending money on costly death penalty appeals, especially when only one person has been put to death in Louisiana since 2002.

Although the bill says the proposed law would not apply retroactively, critics said they feared future courts would not allow the 74 inmates sentenced to death in Louisiana to be executed and instead could one day release them on parole.


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