Death penalty abolitionists increasingly optimistic
A proposal to abolish the death penalty failed to pass this year, but proponents are more optimistic about its chances going forward, citing the progress it made this year. New Iberia Representative Terry Landy says his bill got further this year than ever before, proof that legislative opinion may be shifting.
“I think we have a lot of traction. For the first time in three years we were able to get it out of committee and get it on the floor, when my expectations initially were just to start the conversation.”
This was Landry’s last year in the Legislature.
The Democrat says despite a somewhat lopsided floor vote against abolishing the death penalty, he’s encouraged about the effort’s momentum, because lawmakers were more receptive to his arguments than ever before.
“I had members come up to me after the debate and tell me that I had put it on there hearts, and that they were really really struggling with it, and some who said I had changed their minds.”
Landry adds the incoming generation of lawmakers, set to replace a third of the legislature that is term limited, may be more progressive in their views of this issue.
The death penalty ban failed to pass, but so too did an effort to make it easier to get the drugs needed to carry out the death penalty. Landry says the progress made this year has inspired him to make a bold prediction.
“We have moved the ball significantly, and I do believe in the next term that the death penalty is going to be repealed in Louisiana, I really do believe that in my heart.”
Louisiana has not carried out an execution since 2010, as pharma companies refuse to sell the drugs the state legally needs to carry out lethal injections.