CARSON CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — The Nevada Assembly voted Tuesday to abolish the death penalty and reduces all current death sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The Assembly voted 26-16 to send AB 395 to the Senate. The proposal is retroactive, meaning while it abolishes any further death sentences, any current sentences would be changed to life in prison without the possibility of release.
In order to become law, the Democratic-controlled Senate would have to approve the proposal and Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak would have to sign it.
“The death penalty is broken,” Assem. Steve Yeager, D-District 9 said, citing the fact that more than half of people on death row in Nevada are people of color.
“A death sentence in Nevada means life in prison without the possibility of parole, no matter what else we choose to call it,” added Assem. Steve Yeager.
Speaking in opposition, Assem. Annie Black, R-District 19, cited three cases of inmates on death row.
“Only the worst of the worst are sentenced to death,” Black said. “That is as it should be.”
A similar bill already in the Senate, Senate Bill 288, would eliminate the death penalty, but not affect previous death sentences.
Nevada has put a dozen inmates to death since 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Seventy inmates currently sit on death row. Currently law allows a person convicted of first-degree murder to be sentenced to death. Nevada’s last execution occurred in 2006, Yeager said.
Virginia repealed its death penalty law last month.
Representatives for Senate Democrats, which hold the majority in the Senate, and the governor, did not return requests for comment.