Monthly Archives: March 2018

NH Senate Passes Repeal 14-10!

Today, the NH Senate Passed Death Penalty Repeal by a Vote of 14-10

The NH Senate today deliberated nearly one hour before passing Senate Bill 593 with a bipartisan vote of 14-10. Watch the full debate and vote on YouTube here.

Those voting in favor were: Sen. Avard, Dist 12; Sen. Daniels, Dist 11; Sen. Ward, Dist 8; Sen. Giuda, Dist 2; Sen. French, Dist 7; Sen. Woodburn, Dist 1; Sen. Watters, Dist 4; Sen. Fuller Clark, Dist 21; Sen. Feltes, Dist 15; Sen. Soucy, Dist 18; Sen. Hennessey, Dist 5; Sen. Kahn, Dist 10; Sen. Lasky, Dist 13; and Sen. Reagan, Dist 17.

Strong and often emotional arguments were heard on both sides. Repeal proponents centered on the argument that the rest of New England and the civilized Western world has abolished this practice, which does not in the end do the one thing victims most want: to have their loved ones back. The debate underscored the many legal, moral, and economic reasons for repealing the death penalty.

Senator Lou D’Allesandro, speaking in opposition to the bill, asked members of the Senate to remember the suffering family of slain Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs.

Senator Ruth Ward, speaking for the bill, shared her story of losing her father when she was a child, and told how her mother promoted an attitude of forgiveness, leaving the ultimate fate of the perpetrator “in God’s hands.”

The last time the NH Senate passed a death penalty repeal bill was in 2000, which was later passed by the Republican-controlled House, only to fall to then-Governor Shaheen’s veto.

Thanks to everyone who wrote their Senators in recently days. We encourage you now go ahead and write another note of thanks for their courageous vote today.

The bill will move to the NH House for initial consideration by the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee later this month or early next, before coming before the full House for a vote, most likely sometime in April or early May.

Stay tuned.

Other news coverage:

Here is the coverage from the Union Leader and the Concord Monitor.

Here is an op-ed by Margaret Hawthorn.

Here is WMUR’s coverage (video and article).

Senate Judiciary Hearing on Repeal Bill

Randy Steidl, Death Row Exoneree

The Senate hearing on SB 593  on March 12 was powerful and the number of witness in favor of the bill outnumbered opponents by more than 5 to 1. Among those testifying in favor were: Senator Kevin Avard (prime sponsor); Randy Steidl, death row exoneree; Greg Smith, former NH Attorney General; Ray Dodge, former Marlborough NH Police Chief; Steve Kaneb, Catholic Deacon, Mark Sisti, public defender; Rabbi Robin Nafshi, Len Korn, M.D.; Rev. Jason Wells, NH Council of Churches; Barbara Keshen, and others. You can listen to the full hearing on YouTube here.

Witnesses Listen & Wait to Speak

You can also hear a couple of powerful excerpts from the hearing on AFSC-NH’s State House Watch podcast here (starting at the 7:20 mark).

Directly after the hearing, The Judiciary Committee held an executive session on the bill and voted 3 to 1 in favor of the OTP (ought to pass) motion.  Senators Lasky, Hennessey, and French voted in favor, Sen. Carson against.

Shortly after that, we discovered that the full Senate will be voting on the bill THIS THURSDAY, March 15.  The bill is listed last on the Senate Addendum Calendar, and may therefore be heard later in the sesssion, though that could change. If you can attend in support of this bill, please do.

Since time is short to influence your senator, if you have not already written to him or her, please do so right away. Simply use the following form:

  • Write your legislator (your legislators will be listed after you enter your address – please choose your senator from the list)

We sincerely appreciate your help sending a strong and incontrovertible message.

PS. On Twitter, please use #NHRepealDP & #NHPolitics for hashtags on your posts.