Death Penalty Debate Re-Ignited After Bill Passes Iowa Senate Subcommittee

Cropped Photo: Paul Buck/EPA

DES MOINES, Iowa – A renewed effort to bring the death penalty back to Iowa is moving forward at the Statehouse.

Last legislative session, a bill that would bring back the death penalty passed a subcommittee but failed in the Iowa House. Wednesday, a similar bill passed a Senate subcommittee.

Iowa has not executed anyone since 1963 and completely outlawed the practice in 1965.

The bill has 20 Republican co-sponsors, which is six more than it had last year.

The reason for its failure in the House last legislative session was the change of heart from Rep. Steve Holt, who headed the subcommittee that initially passed it.

“There was a lot of interest in that last year, from the Senate and the House, and I think Representative Holt is an example of that. I think, philosophically, he believes in that. But as he worked through the process and learned more about what that would entail, he felt, at that time, it probably…he wasn’t interested in moving forward,” commented Gov. Kim Reynolds Wednesday.

Gov. Terry Branstad made reinstatement of the death penalty central to his 1994 re-election campaign, but none of the proposed measures were able to pass both houses of Iowa’s state legislature.

Several polls state that most Iowans support bringing the death penalty back.

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