LAS VEGAS (AP) — Opponents of capital punishment began the Nevada legislative session bolstered by the governor’s general disapproval of the death penalty.
But two bills that would have banned the punishment didn’t receive hearings and failed last week due a legislative deadline.
Political observers say Democratic leadership wanted to avoid a divisive debate this session over the death penalty — an issue they say moderate Democrats have a hard time fully embracing in the state with a history of law-and-order politics.
“There’s this symbolic belief that the death penalty gives us justice,” said Eric Herzik, a political science professor the University of Nevada, Reno.
Fred Lokken, a political science professor at Truckee Meadows Community College, said Democratic leadership is trying to steer away from certain issues that could serve as a rallying cry for Republicans in the 2020 election.
Democrats don’t want to move too far to the left and risk losing control of the Legislature, he said.