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Death Penalty Repeal Stalls in Colorado

Colorado State Capitol Building

Colorado State Capitol Building Shutterstock

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Colorado lawmakers have shelved their attempt to repeal the death penalty, as Senate Democrats weren’t able to bring together enough votes. State Sen. Julie Gonzales announced Tuesday the bill wouldn’t be brought up during the rest of the session, saying, “For many of us, this has not solely been a head decision. It’s been a heart decision.” While the measure had the support of new Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, and was believed to have enough votes in the Democratic-led House, it hasn’t been clear if sufficient Democrats in the Senate would back the measure. For one senator, Rhonda Fields, this issue is deeply connected to her family. Two of the three men currently on Colorado’s death row were convicted in the killing of Fields’ son, Javad Marshall Fields and his fiancée, Vivian Wolfe. Rhonda Fields had come out against the legislation, along with saying she felt the process had been rushed. Gonzales on Tuesday acknowledged the pain of crime victims, emphasizing her family’s own experience with violence, as her father-in-law was murdered. “I had to ask myself, in the event that the man who murdered my father-in-law were ever brought to justice, whether I myself could support the death penalty as punishment. The answer simply is no.” While Colorado’s effort stalled, a similar effort in New Hampshire moved forward with a vote in a key Senate committee on Tuesday. While Gov. Chris Sununu is expected to veto the proposal, supporters might have enough support to override if that happens. [Colorado Public Radio; Denver Post; Colorado Springs Gazette; Concord Monitor]

NEW MAYOR | Chicago voters on Tuesday elected attorney Lori Lightfoot mayor. Running a campaign that portrayed her as a political outsider at the helm of City Hall, Lightfoot defeated Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Lightfoot becomes the first black woman to serve as city mayor, as well as the first openly gay mayor. “We have the opportunity to bring all parts of our city together, to forge a new direction for our city that welcomes everyone to the table,” Lightfoot said in a recent speech, the Chicago Tribune reported. [New York Times; Chicago Tribune]

PTSD | New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation guaranteeing that firefighters who develop post-traumatic stress disorder on the job will be able to get treatment. [Albuquerque Journal]

OPEN MIC | The Douglas County Board in Nebraska on Tuesday decided to keep allowing a “citizens comment” period for members of the public to speak for up to five minutes each on any topic not on a meeting agenda. Members backed off a proposal to do away with the open mic session after complaints. But the county attorney advised members not to engage in protracted debates with residents during this time. [Omaha World-Herald]

DISASTER MONEY | A $13 billion new disaster package in Congress to help communities dealing with the aftermath of floods and wildfires has stalled, while President Trump says he doesn’t want more money going to Puerto Rico. Senate Democrats have said they want to direct more money to the struggling island territory, while requiring the Department of Housing and Urban Development to release existing dollars. Republicans, along with Trump, have balked at increasing spending beyond $600 million more in food assistance for Puerto Rico. The fight comes as states in the Midwest are dealing with the immediate aftermath of historic floods. [Politico; New York Times; NPR]

Laura Maggi is Managing Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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