RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia State Senate passed Senate Bill 1165, a death penalty repeal bill, this afternoon. The House Committee on Courts of Justice also voted to advance the bill this morning. The bill is expected to advance quickly to a full vote in the house.

Henderson Hill, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project, issued the following statement:

“Death penalty advocates around the country have our eyes on Virginia lawmakers this week, as we celebrate what has been thrilling momentum out of the state senate. This bill is a powerful repudiation of the barbaric and unconstitutional execution spree we saw at the federal level under the Trump administration. Each of the 13 federal executions we witnessed in the last seven months highlighted the insurmountable problems with the death penalty: It is racist, arbitrary, error-prone, and expensive. Leaders around the country are cheering Virginia on as it takes this important and critical step to put the irreparable harms that have been caused by the death penalty behind it. We expect to see the federal government and other states around the country follow Virginia’s lead.”

Jenny Glass, director of advocacy at the ACLU of Virginia, issued the following comment:

“The death penalty evolved in this country from lynching, and that legacy still sears our memory here in Virginia. It is tremendously powerful and meaningful to see this group of legislators act swiftly and decisively to take steps to end the punishment in our state. We thank the Senators who voted for this important bill, and we turn our attention now to the House. If our Representatives are serious about their commitment to racial justice and equality for all, they must vote in favor of this important bill.”

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