OLYMPIA – A bipartisan group of state lawmakers introduced a bill today that would replace the death penalty in Washington state with a sentence of life in prison without parole.
House Bill 1739, sponsored by Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) and co-sponsored by Reps. Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Walla), Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines) and Chad Magendanz (R-Issaquah), would also require the convicted individual to work to pay restitution to victims and their families.
“We realize this is a painfully difficult and profoundly serious public issue, and we ask our colleagues and the public to join us in a constructive dialogue about our state’s approach,” Carlyle said. “We are including a new provision that requires those convicted of offenses to work within prison, as appropriate per the Department of Corrections, to contribute towards restitution for victims’ families.”
The bipartisan group agrees that repealing and replacing the death penalty is both a morally and fiscally responsible policy change. The carrying out of death penalties, though rare, is costly for the state.
“We believe there has been a shift in thinking about the death penalty including recognition of the impact of DNA testing, cost to taxpayers, and lack of support for victims’ families in a drawn-out process,” Orwall said. “This year is the right time to seriously consider this legislation, and we deeply respect the openness of colleagues and families that have been touched by violence as our state thoughtfully discusses this issue.”