State by state, the United States is moving away from the death penalty because it’s racist, arbitrary, inhumane, and prone to error.
With a growing number of state legislators supporting a repeal of the death penalty, Wyoming is headed in that direction, too. Now, Wyomingites who want to see the death penalty abolished are thanking those legislators for their support.
More than 125 Wyoming residents and other repeal supporters from around the country – including Sister Helen Prejean, a leading advocate for the abolition of the death penalty – signed an open letter urging state legislators to support the repeal in the 2021 legislative session.
The letter reads, in part: “As more information becomes available about the arbitrary and discriminatory manner in which these laws are applied — and as societal standards regarding the death penalty continue to evolve — it becomes increasingly difficult for capital punishment laws to avoid violating the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. … The death penalty is an intolerable denial of civil liberties and is inconsistent with the fundamental values of our democratic system. The time to take up a bill ending the death penalty in Wyoming is now. Let’s make a repeal happen in 2021.”
Support for repealing the death penalty among Wyoming residents is growing every day. That support is extending to more and more lawmakers, too. Ending the death penalty, after all, is not a partisan issue. The death penalty’s history of deep injustices, skyrocketing costs and entrenched discrimination defies party lines.
In the 2019 Wyoming legislative session, a bill to repeal the death penalty drew far more support from state lawmakers than ever before. The bill had 13 co-sponsors in the House and five in the Senate, and had the support of leadership in both chambers. Ultimately, the bill passed in the House but failed with an 18-12 vote in the Senate.
In 2020, the Wyoming House of Representatives narrowly missed meeting the 2/3 super majority of votes required to consider legislation that would repeal the death penalty during the legislature’s budget session.
Now, we are working with legislators on both sides of the aisle who agree that it’s time to end this injustice against people’s lives and unbearable strain on our state budget – legislators who will prioritize repealing the death penalty in early 2021.
But we can’t do it alone. Will you sign this pledge and join the movement to end the death penalty? In the weeks leading up to the 2021 Legislative Session, you’ll get an email with actions you can take to help make repeal a reality for Wyoming. It’s critical to take action now so we can continue to bring attention to this issue and get commitments from our legislators.
With your help, the death penalty’s days are numbered in our great state!