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Video: After Passionate Debate, State Senate Votes 21-17 to Abolish Virginia’s Death Penalty

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See below for video of the debate and vote, as the Virginia State Senate voted a few minutes ago to abolish the state’s death penalty. As for the Wason poll, which is mentioned repeatedly in the debate, see here for that information, namely that when asked “Would you support or oppose a proposal to repeal the death penalty in the state of Virginia and replace it with a life sentence without parole?”, 56% support that and 44% oppose it. With that, here’s the video (note: I’ll upload more video as it becomes available on YouTube). Whatever your views on this issue, and it’s a difficult one no doubt (I have very mixed feelings about it, personally), Virginia moving in this direction is certainly an important and historic step to be taking.

Sen. Scott Surovell (D) introduces his bill, goes through the main reasons why he believes the death penalty should be abolished

Sen. Mark Obenshain (R) says he supports rare use of the death penalty in the worst-of-the-worst, most brutal cases

Sen. Janet Howell (D) talks about how the death penalty can tear victims’ families apart

Sen. Amanda Chase (R) asks, “what about the victim?”

Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D) argues that the death penalty won’t bring victims back

Sen. Jennifer Kiggans (R) says she’d replace the death penalty with life without the possibility of parole

Sen. Bill Stanley (R) says this should have been a bipartisan bill, but all Republicans got was “nope, nope, nope” from Democrats

Sen. Bill Stanley (R) talks about not trusting judges to always get it right, and says we need mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole for certain heinous crimes

Sen. Richard Stuart (R) says some people are just “rotten”

Sen. Mamie Locke (D) talks about the history of lynchings and the death penalty

Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D) discusses the state executioner’s experience, including his change of heart after carrying out many executions

Sen. Surovell sums up his argument for repealing the death penalty in Virginia

Senate votes to pass the bill

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