OLYMPIA – The Senate today passed bipartisan legislation that abolishes the use of the death penalty in Washington state. Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, and Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, released the following statements following passage of Senate Bill 6052.

“For me, there are many compelling reasons why Washington should join the 19 other states that have eliminated the death penalty,” Pedersen, chair of the Senate Law & Justice Committee, said. “It is unfairly administered, expensive and unavailable in wide swaths of our state. Those convicted of aggravated first-degree murder should die in prison with no hope of parole. The taxpayers do not need to spend millions of dollars to hasten that death.”

As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Pedersen held the first hearing on an abolition bill in the House of Representatives in 2013.

Carlyle added: “This is a difficult and serious public issue, and a personal decision for each legislator. And in this discussion, we offer no personal judgments, no moral criticism and no righteousness against those with whom we disagree. But my personal religious conviction leaves me unable to support a policy that is clearly applied inequitably across our nation and that I believe does not represent our best values of grace. For nine years as a legislator I have led efforts to eliminate the death penalty in favor of life in prison. Today’s vote represents an evolution in thinking about the death penalty and I am grateful that we are making meaningful progress toward that goal.”