Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he’ll sign the bill repealing the state’s death penalty when it reaches his desk, which could happen sometime next week.
But when asked at an afternoon press conference if he intends to hold a celebration marking the passage of the measure, the governor hedged. A longtime opponent of capital punishment, Malloy said he is nevertheless aware that the issue conjures strong feelings, especially from some family members who have lost loved ones through homicide.
“I want to be careful in the tone of my remarks, out of respect for the gravity of the issue at hand and out of respect for people on both sides of the issue,” Malloy said in a statement issued last night, after the House of Representatives gave final legislative approval to the repeal bill.
Today he was asked if he intends to hold a signing ceremony of the abolition bill, which has been pending in various forms at the state capitol for years.
“I haven’t made a decision,” he said. “It’s solemn in the sense that, listen, this is an issue which divides our citizenry, divided our legislature although it was a bipartisan vote last night, and certainly has a profound..impact on families who have experienced death in their families by way of murder…it’s important to understand the depth of the feelings about this as our state turns a corner and joins 16 other states and rest of the industrialized world.”
The bill eliminates the death penalty for those convicted of capital felonies in the future; it does not apply to the 11 men currently on death row. It takes effect immediately after the governor signs it.