The Senate Republican Caucus would have supported a special session dedicated solely to fixing Senate Bill 1013, the bill that narrowed the use of capital punishment and changed sentences for the most serious murder crimes without a vote of the people. To encourage action on this bill, the Senate Republicans sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown, who has decided on inaction instead.
The special session was needed to make a very simple fix and clarify that the law applied only to crimes committed “on or after September 29, 2019.” This simple fix would have protected victims’ families.
Senate Republican Leader, Herman Baertschiger, Jr. (R-Grants Pass) issued the following statement:
“The death penalty has not been voted on since 1984. The Democrats decided to ignore the voters, who should have had a say this controversial issue, and changed the law on the death penalty through SB 1013. They knowingly passed a bill that is retroactive, even though they said multiple times, on record, that it was not. The most tragic part of this is the bill takes effect on September 29 and will inflict even more pain on the victims’ families who have already been horribly damaged and traumatized. Their horrific experiences will be public again as the worst criminals are given the chance of parole.”