Lawmaker Reacts To Death Penalty Proposal

Lawmaker Reacts To Death Penalty Proposal

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While a 2004 court ruling blocked the state from executing criminals in New York, the death penalty is still technically on the books.

This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to get rid of the death penalty once and for all - a move that was spurred by Pope Francis declaring the executions unacceptable in the Catholic faith.

"I would support a bill to put it into actual state statute rather than it be based on a court decision," said Assemblywoman  - Addie Jenne (D. - 116th District). "I think that it's well beyond time for the state to take steps to make it part of our actual state laws."

New York does have a history with the death penalty. In 1890,  it became the first state to use the electric chair. Close to 700 people were sent to death by it until the state's last execution in 1963.

"We should be good to one another and we should try to make this place a more sensible, more intelligent place than it has been and to do that you have to get rid of the death penalty," said former Governor Mario Cuomo in 2006.

A big reason for the death penalty not coming back was Governor Andrew Cuomo's father, Mario, who vetoed a push to bring it back 12 times when he was governor.

The death penalty was reinstated in the 1990s. However, it was stopped by the court ruling. Cuomo's legislation to remove it from the books would have to be voted on by the state Assembly and Senate. 

7 News reached out to Republican Senators Patty Ritchie and Joe Griffo and Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush for comment. They were not available.

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