Republicans Move Iowa Death Penalty Bill Out of Senate Panel

DES MOINES, Iowa – Twenty Senate Republicans have signed on to a bill that would reinstate a death penalty in Iowa, a state that hasn’t put anyone to death in more than 50 years.

A Senate subcommittee on Wednesday approved the bill with only Republican support. It would make it a capital offense to kidnap, rape and murder a minor.

A similar bill failed last year, and this year’s bill isn’t expected to be approved by the Legislature.

Attorney General Tom Miller says reinstating the death penalty wouldn’t make Iowans safer and likely cannot be administered fairly. Democratic Sen. Tony Bisignano says the death penalty represents nothing but vengeance.

However, Republican Sen. Jake Chapman says he supports the bill because some crimes are so heinous that only the death penalty offers proper justice.

Iowa currently requires life in prison without parole for people convicted of offenses including first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and certain sexual abuse crimes.

Iowa abolished the death penalty in 1965.

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