Utah lawmakers discuss longshot plan to repeal death penalty

Photo courtesy Utah State Law Library.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A committee of Utah lawmakers is discussing whether repealing the death penalty would be a moral, just and cheaper policy for the state.

Several lawmakers speaking at a meeting of the interim judiciary committee Wednesday said that while they question the death penalty, they acknowledge there’s strong support for it in the conservative state and it’s not likely to be repealed soon.

They didn’t take any action Wednesday but committee chair Mark Madsen, a Republican senator from Eagle Mountain, says views on the issue are evolving.

Lawmakers say they’re not planning legislation at this point to repeal the death penalty.

Layton Republican Rep. Stephen Handy said there’s little support and noted Utah bolstered the punishment in 2015, when the Legislature voted to use firing squads as a backup execution method if lethal injection drugs are unavailable.

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