State Representative Frank Ryan (R-101) has backed a bipartisan bill that would see Pennsylvania joining twenty other states in doing away with the death penalty.
For the bill, Rep. Ryan has teamed with Rep. Chris Rabb, who represents Pennsylvania District 200 in Philadelphia.
Rep. Ryan’s district includes southern and western Lebanon County.
A broken criminal justice system and a long and expensive appeal process involved with capital punishment cases are among the reasons the representatives have for getting rid of the death penalty.
While the death penalty is typically divisive along party lines, in quotes obtained by WITF, Rep. Ryan said that he anticipates more Republicans will join him and Rep. Rabb by co-sponsoring the bill.
“I’ve gotten no blowback from any of my Republican colleagues,” said Rep. Ryan to WITF. “I had one say, ‘Oh my god Frank, you’re soft on crime,’ and then he said, ‘By the way, good bill. I’ll co-sponsor it.'”
Pennsylvania has carried out three executions since the federal government reaffirmed the death penalty in 1999.
In Pennsylvania, the death penalty is currently under a moratorium imposed by Governor Tom Wolf beginning in 2015.
Pennsylvania is one of four states—along with Colorado, Oregon, and California—that currently have governor imposed death penalty moratoriums.