On Monday, legislators in Virginia have approved a bill that will end the death penalty in the state.
The bill that repeals capital punishment is now on its way to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who expressed his intention of signing it into law. When he does, this will make Virginia the 23rd state to holding executions.
The Democratic majority of the state’s General Assembly has pushed for this effort for a second year. It argued that capital punishment has been given disproportionately to minorities, including people of color, those who are mentally ill, and the indigents.
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Regarding this, Republicans in the state said they are concerned about jeopardizing the justice the punishment provides for the victims and their families. They also argued that there are crimes that are too heinous, making the death penalty the appropriate punishment.
Earlier this month, the state’s House and Senate approved two separate bills repealing capital punishment. On Monday, the Senate ratified the House Bill with a 22-16 vote.
Meanwhile, the House is scheduled to vote on the Senate’s version of the bill later in the day.
Virginia is historically known to use the death penalty the most in the US. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, it has enacted 1,400 executions since the time that it was still a colony. Additionally, since the Supreme Court reinstated this form of punishment in 1976, the state has executed 113 people.
Currently, there are two men on Virginia’s death row.